FOXBORO – More than 100 backpacks are on display at Patriot Place Thursday. Each shows a picture and tells a story of a teen or young adult with a bright future cut short by suicide.
"He was voted the funniest male student in his graduating class in North Attleboro," said Jim Johnson, who lost his son, Kyle, to suicide in 2018.
In the years since his passing, his family has been on a mission to help others.
"What we're really trying to do is reduce teen and young adult self-harm and suicide by working with schools - where teens spend a lot of time in their lives - to create an environment that is more caring, supportive and less judgmental toward people who might be struggling with mental illness," Johnson said.
The Kyle Cares Foundation teamed up with the New England Patriots Foundation and the national organization Active Minds to bring this powerful exhibit to Foxboro.
"Suicide is now the second highest cause of death amongst young people," said Jessica Mayorga, the Chief Marketing Officer of Active Minds. "We see so many times that it can be the young person who is the most popular athlete at school or someone you wouldn't expect is dealing with these challenges. We know so many people are suffering in silence and that's why we need to have these conversations."
The "Send Silence Packing" Exhibit is traveling to 40 schools and communities over the next few months, hoping to educate visitors, decrease stigma and provide resources.
"It's definitely incredibly heartbreaking and very impactful," said Anke Shact, who is the president of the Active Minds chapter at her high school.
"I think it's really important to tell others they're not alone and it's not as scary or embarrassing as an individual thinks it is," she added.
The exhibit is at Patriot Place for one day only from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Call or text 988
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Samaritans Statewide Helpline
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