On Wednesday, March 9 Wellesley College Counseling Services will host “Fresh Check Day” in Tishman Campus Center from 12:30-3:30 p.m. This event is also sponsored by 14 other campus organizations and services such as the Division of Student Life and College Government. Fresh Check Day is an event brought to colleges to reduce stigma related to mental health and seeking help. This event will feature booths with educational activities, free food, live music, games and prizes. Fresh Check Day was implemented in 30 colleges nationwide in 2015, and this year has partnered with 75 colleges and universities.
“Fresh Check Day helps to build a bridge between students and the mental health resources and programs that exist on campus, in the community, and on a national level,” according to the Fresh Check Day event details. “Fresh Check Day utilizes student groups in addition to college/university staff to develop and execute interactive booths that deliver mental health and resource information in a fun and engaging way.”
College Government Multicultural Affairs Coordinator, Ananya Ghemawat ’17, was interested in the collaboration between student groups and Fresh Check Day.
“Personally, I am really excited to see the booths that are the result of collaborations between various organizations on this campus, such as the SAAFE booth, and the booth focusing on wellness for LGBTQ students,” Ghemawat said.
Fresh Check Day is run by the Jordan Porco Foundation, which was founded by the family of Jordan Porco after he committed suicide during his first year of college. The foundation started the “Nine out of Ten” suicide prevention program. This program is named after the statistic that one in ten college students contemplates suicide, meaning that nine out of ten have the opportunity to help the one who is struggling. Every student who attends Fresh Check Day is required to visit the Nine out of Ten booth and make a suicide awareness pledge.
This event has been in the works since Spring ’15. According to Director of Counseling Services, Robin Cook-Nobles, Ed.D., the Jordan Porco Foundation has been heavily involved in the planning of the event.
“They have a very clear schedule for this event, and they want it all to go well. So they reach out months before the event to make sure we’re planning it all correctly, and then they check in a week beforehand. They’ve been sending us water bottles and t-shirts. They’re very dedicated to this program,” Cook-Nobles said.
Cook-Nobles was excited about the event and the innovative way in which the Jordan Porco Foundation is addressing mental health. The event will consist of a variety of booths and activities ranging from s’mores making, to support dogs, mental health screenings, suicide education, self-diagnosis help, self care awareness and raffles to win gift cards and a flat screen TV. The relaxed nature of the event is meant to de-stigmatize mental illness and encourage students to make mental health a priority.
“I hope that people will leave this event and feel like they have the resources to help others, and help themselves. This whole event is about de-stigmatizing mental illness and looking for help,” Cook-Nobles said. “The event should bring the community together in a supportive way.”
Interim Dean of Students, Professor Adele Wolfson, also hopes that the event will motivate students to seek help and help others.
“We hope that students will learn more about creating balance in their day-to-day lives; that they will take to heart the mission of Fresh Check, which is that one person out of every 10 is struggling with mental health issues and the other 9 can serve as support and resources. We hope to de-stigmatize getting help when needed and that everyone will learn about what resources are available,” Wolfson said.
If the event is successful, Cook-Nobles would like to host this event again.
“I would love to have Fresh Check Day every year,” Cook-Nobles said.
—reduce stigma related to mental health
I am neither so naive nor so vicious as to direct a “stigma”, nor to collude with anyone who does. History taught me that lesson. See WW II, if you have forgotten. Or, revisit the Women’s Movement, when it said to stop voicing the prejudice, rape/stigma. Have you ever considered the harm you do in voicing this prejudice?
Since you are suggesting a “reduction”, could you please offer me some help on how much you want to keep, whether you will provide written guidelines for people to follow, so they will not exceed the guidelines, and how you will prepare people at whom this prejudice is approved for direction, they need to know how much self-control to muster. (I think parents might want to know as well.)
Will there be a committee to set up and approve those guidelines, and what part will Wellesley administrators play in designing and approving it? And lastly, will it include people opposed to directing a “stigma”, or will it be a closed shop?
Much of the above is tongue-in-cheek, but not all. People actually did endure such guidelines. They were largely, though not entirely unwritten. Women were harassed, for being women, Jews, for being Jews, African Americans for being African Americans. Colleges and universities did not exempt themselves from those practices.