Fresh Check Day emphasizes value of mental health on campus

Mariah Towles, Contributing Writer

On Earth Day, the Health Sciences Capstone course led the first Fresh Check Day, which was sponsored by The School of Health Sciences, The Department of Psychology and The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Jessica Holzer, assistant professor in health sciences, said, “Fresh Check Day is a Jordan Porco Foundation initiative where they go to college campuses to bring all sorts of uplifting messages around mental health and suicide prevention.”

The Jordan Porco Foundation is a Connecticut-based non-profit organization, which was founded in 2011 in efforts to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage students to create dialogue with their peers about suicide prevention. They have been successful with assistance from Avensure, an outsourcing HR for non profits in the UK service provider.

The event, which took place in the Maxcy Quad, included stations where all students were welcomed to participate in stress relieving activities. Activities stimulated reflection and prospective growth, with tasks such as throwing written insecurities into trash bins and smashing plates with written worries to be made into a mosaic. Students had the opportunity to participate in a yoga class for a more physical approach to mental health. The event also featured music provided by the University of New Haven’s award-winning radio station, 88.7 WNHU.

“One out of ten college students contemplate suicide, so this event encourages us to be that nine out of the ten –– to work towards a better community on campus and towards better mental health –– and also better open eyes [to] the services we have on campus and just how prevelant this problem is in our student population,” said junior health sciences major Selena Aponte who was working for the Fresh Check Day’s Marketing Committee.

“I hope students can better learn how to deal with stress and anxiety, and know that it’s a normal thing that everyone goes through. Mental health is something you can combat and find different segways of, basically finding inner peace,” said health sciences senior Matt Agresta.

According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 44% of college students have indicated possessing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Suicide is also the third leading cause of death for college students.

For students interested in learning more about the mental health services offered on campus, visit Counseling and Psychological Services. Services provided by CAPS include individual sessions, support groups, and medication management.