SJU Student Group to Host Exhibit Promoting Mental Health

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (March 22, 2012) — Picture 1,100 backpacks, spread out across a stretch of lawn on campus. Then realize that they represent the lives of the 1,100 college students across the country lost to suicide each year.

On Thursday, March 29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Saint Joseph’s chapter of Active Minds, a national student-led advocacy organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of mental health, especially during the college years, will host the backpack display, titled “Send Silence Packing,” outside of the Campion Student Center.

“Few people realize that suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses,” says Active Minds chapter president Sam Tobin '13. “We are honored to host ‘Send Silence Packing.'  This display will send a powerful message and let every student know that they are not alone and there is help. Saint Joseph's CAPS office and the centers at many schools are a free support to students.”

Marybeth Ayella, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology, and Natalie Petyk, Psy.D., a psychologist with the University's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office, are co-advisors of Active Minds and helping the students organize the event.

“We want to tell our students, and all students in the Philadelphia region, that it is okay to talk with someone, to seek help if you are depressed,” says Ayella. “The ‘Send Silence Packing’ exhibit reminds us that mental health is as important as physical health for students.”

Saint Joseph’s was selected as the first stop for the exhibition, which will be touring nationally.  Founded in 2001, Active Minds seeks to remove the stigmas associated with mental illness, and to empower college students with the courage to seek help if they find themselves in any level of distress from the pressures that college life can present.

In the event of inclement weather, the display will be moved to the O’Pake Recreation Center on SJU’s Maguire Campus. 



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Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic University that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective. This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni — over 68,000 strong — provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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