Active Minds Hosts Suicide Awareness Event

Alexis Watkins

On Monday, Sept. 20, Active Minds held an exhibit with the purpose of preventing suicide through story-sharing.  

The exhibit, called “Send Silence Packing,” was set up between Strosacker Hall and Baldwin Wallace’s Welcome Center, where numerous backpacks were laid across the ground. Each backpack was coupled with a personal story of someone who either died by suicide or survived it. 

These stories are meant “to raise awareness and bring conversation to suicide prevention,” said Tim Hall, assistant director of counseling services and staff adviser of Active Minds at Baldwin Wallace.  

Send Silence Packing was introduced to us by the National Active Minds Organization, said Hall. “They’re doing a whole tour around the country.” 

The purpose is to stop the silence that surrounds suicide and, instead, promote talking about mental health. Active Minds organizes programs and events that provide wellness and stress reduction opportunities, Hall said. 

The programs “encourage conversation and dialogue around mental health. (Active Minds) does stress less weeks in collaboration with a lot of campus organizations around finals week,” said Hall. They also have “other programs that encourage dialogue and promote stress reduction.” 

The Baldwin Wallace chapter of Active Minds was chartered three years ago by the student director Emily Muench, in 2019 during her freshman year at Baldwin Wallace. 

“I’ve always been very passionate about mental health, because of my own depression and anxiety,” Muench said. “So, I was like, this is needed. I need it. I know other people need it.” 

In addition to the programs and events Active Minds organizes, there are also weekly meetings — every Monday at 3 p.m. in the Quarry Room at Strosacker Hall —that anyone can attend. 

“The meetings are very laid back,” Muench said. “Most of it is honestly doing a check in. We do, ‘how are you, actually?’ Not just ‘how are you?’” 

During these meetings, people can talk about how they’re truly feeling or how their week went.  

“I try to be brutally honest, and I think other people have followed suit,” Muench said. 

Muench and others participating discuss coping strategies for stress, anxiety, or anything that may help with how they are feeling. Active Minds stresses the importance of communication and seeking help if needed. 

Muench also uses dialectical behavior therapy skills to help students learn to manage highly emotional situations or feelings. For a recent Active Minds meeting this past year, the subject matter was “Riding The Wave.” 

The discussion was about “riding the emotional wave, (and) not avoiding your feelings,” Muench said. It is about admitting if you are not okay and telling yourself that you can get through it and it will get better. 

 Talking about mental health can be “uncomfortable at times,” Muench said. “Like for me, talking about me being hospitalized and me having suicidal ideation in the past” was not easy. “Those are uncomfortable topics because people don’t talk about them.” 

There is a stigma around mental health, so many people find it hard to talk about the subject, but once she began speaking up about her own experiences and struggles, others were more open to talking about themselves, Muench said. 

For more information about the National Active Minds organization, one can explore their website at, or visit the Instagram page @activeminds_bw to get involved or learn more about what Active Minds does here at Baldwin Wallace.