Sep 5, 2019

What happens in an Unsilence teacher training?

Thank you for your support of our Unsilence initative to help schools address mental health.

Across our Unsilence in-person programs, mental health is named, again and again, as a topic that's difficult for teachers and young people to talk about in a meaningful way.

Last week, 40 social studies teachers participated in Unsilence teacher trainings. The teachers explored our online Unsilence learning experiences -- like Oxygen and Tomorrow -- and explored how to talk with their students about gun violence, incidents of suicide, and domestic terrorism, all of which affect our young people in profound ways.

One specific barrier to dialogue that the teachers identified was a sense of fear among parents that their children were not yet ready to talk about these difficult "mature" topics. The teachers noted that parents often need the reminder that their children are in fact already exposed (through TV, film, and social media, as well as through direct experience) to different forms of violence that can be perceived as inappropriate for teens. Yet young people need the guidance of trusted adults to learn how to talk openly and process their complex emotions and urgent questions.

By the end of the Unsilence trainings, the teachers walked away with specific tools for helping young people talk about individual mental health and community mental health, including how to talk to school administrators and how to organize parent-student education programs to encourage dialogue across generations.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our work. We can't unsilence without you!

Jul 9, 2019

Unsilence & The Sisterhood: UPDATE on what's next...

Thanks to your generous support, we are close to completing the "photography phase" of our project with The Sisterhood -- a collective of mothers, all women of color, whose children have been killed by senseless violence. Will you contribute today to help our project cross the finish line?
This spring, renowned Chicago artist Cecil McDonald Jr. has been working with the women to create artworks that tell the story of each mother and their children. This summer, Unsilence is integrating the testimonies and photographic artworks to create a new online exhibition and learning experience for schools and communities. Your donation today will help us build the exhibition and develop Unsilence educator guides.
Our project goals: (1) To unsilence the personal and collective grief, trauma, activism, and healing of mothers of color. (2) To humanize their murdered children who are so often portrayed in a negative light in the media. (3) To help communities across Chicago talk about systemic violence. (4) To connect Chicagoland communities, because we’re in this crisis together and we can only solve it together.
We are so grateful for your support. We cannot unsilence injustice without you.
All my best,
Danny M. Cohen
Founder & Interim Executive Director of Unsilence


Unsilence is working to amplify the voices ofThe Sisterhood, a collective of Chicago mothers, all women of color, each of whom has lost a child to gun violence.


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.


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