AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Over 1,000 backpacks were spread across the Student Center green space today to represent the number of students who die due to suicide each year.

The Send Silence Packing campaign is a traveling exhibit that displays the bags at universities across the country. The nationwide program has been traveling for 11 years. This is its third appearance at Auburn.

Some of the backpacks have stories of loved ones who died by suicide. Schools and families can also donate backpacks to the project.

Erin Simon is a coordinator for the project. "Especially in a college environment, there's a lot of stress. A lot of people are dealing with pressure academically and socially," she says. One of the goals of the exhibit is to give space to students to talk to friends or school counselors on site about what they may be going through.

According to Active Minds, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.


What to do

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide:

• Do not leave the person alone

• Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt

• Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)

• Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional