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Jun 7, 2019

Unsilence Program Increases Social Empathy, New Study Shows

Unsilence Program Increases Social Empathy, New Study Shows

Unsilence is happy to report that an in-depth study of our online experience TOMORROW indicates a statistically signifiant increase in social empathy among participants when learning about suicide and mental health.

Social empathy—empathy that takes into account contextual understanding and social awareness—is associated with higher engagement in social action and helping behaviors.

The study was conducted by Sammi Oberman, an honors student in the undergraduate program in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.

TOMORROW is an Unsilence choose-your-own-adventure experience, based on real events, that helps teachers, students, and members of the public learn about best practices for talking about suicide and mental health in schools.

Using a specially modified social empathy index, Oberman administered pre- and post-surveys to measure social empathy in adult learners before and after using Unsilence's TOMORROW feature.

Oberman used a mixed method design and combined the social empathy index with group interviews to explore participants' understandings of new perspectives related to mental health, suicide, and social justice.

Unsilence plans to publish a report of the study's findings, this summer.


Apr 9, 2019


Thank you for supporting Unsilence's work with The Sisterhood, a collective of Chicago mothers - all women of color - each of whom has lost a child to gun violence. We're happy to let you know that, with the guidance of a clinical social worker and graduate student content experts, we've already collected testimonies from around a dozen Sisterhood mothers.
The next step is for renowned artist Cecil McDonald, Jr. to photograph the mothers and create a series of compelling artworks. We'll be combining the mothers' stories with the artworks to create an original Unsilence online exhibition. Later this year, we'll launch the exhibition, alongside a new Unsilence education program for schools and communities, to spark urgent conversations about gun violence, racism, trauma, and resilience.
You can learn more about our work with The Sisterhood, right hereThank you for supporting our work. We can't unsilence without you!
Mar 8, 2019

Update: Unsilencing Mental Health and Suicide

In the past few months, Unsilence has completed a number of focus groups with a diverse group of audience participants. The goal of these focus groups was to determine the overall impact of the TOMORROW interactive digital feature as a means to increase empathy in participants around the difficult nature of talking about suicide in schools.

Although we are analyzing the data and putting together a full report, we wanted to give you a sneak peek of the results!

Some of the particpants responded with the following:

"I think TOMORROW is a good starting point for people who are not- who don't know a lot about suicide, or don't talk about it. It's a narrative, which means it's a way to get across about going to a teacher, to somebody, in a plain, mundane way. It makes you invested."

"I think the way TOMORROW is set up is very smart, like, choose your own adventure - also, the different perspectives, because I'd never thought about it from the teacher's, or administrator's point of view. That's very important to understand other people's point of view. No matter where you are in life, if you're the student or you're the administrator. How people are feeling, how people deal with things is very different. Everyone's point of view should be acknowledged. I thought about that through the whole process."

"Being able to choose what we do next makes you engage more with it, and think about the relative merits of each of these choices, more than you would if you were just given a list of best practices."

The overall initial finding:

Participants were given a form of the Social Empathy Index before and after each workshop. Scores showed an increase in empathy. According to a t-test this showed to be a significant increase.


Thanks to you, we are able to continue this important work and increase our reach and impact of bringing this important issue to light and increasing empathy in participants!


Sincerest Gratitude!

The Unsilence Team

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