People who are facing obstacles are always seeking a way to overcome the bell of distress and enjoy their lives. One of the goals of Fresh Check Day is to help Mercy students produce better outcomes and to show students how to channel their stress and pain into productive outlets.
Fresh Check Day is a signature program of the Jordan Porco Foundation. It works closely with different colleges to plan and fund a way to bring awareness of mental health resources to college campuses. It brings fun and celebration to the event with interactive expo booths, free food, entertainment, and exciting prizes and giveaways. The goal for this day is to bring an approachable atmosphere where students face different mental health issues.
Fresh Check Day helps to build a bridge between students, the mental health resources and programs that exist on campus, in the community, and on a national level. Fresh Check Day utilizes student groups in addition to college staff to develop and execute interactive booths that deliver mental health and resource information in an engaging way and to increase awareness of mental health resources and services available to students.
It strives to reduce stigma and misconceptions around mental health and suicide, letting students know they can seek help.
Fresh Check Day helps students help others by understanding warning signs and knowing what to do if a friend is exhibiting signs of suicide or a mental health concern. But most importantly, it lets students know that they can ask for help if experiencing emotional distress.
Fresh Check Day thrives on full endorsement and support from higher-level administration. It makes a world of differences by reminding students that they are not alone and that their mental health is just as important as their physical health or their academic standing.
This year students were given a chance to win a flat screen 32-inch LED HDTV after attending five or more booths. Nine out of ten booths gave students information on suicide prevention and asked students to take a pledge to be one of the nine students who will check for warning signs.
Warning signs include isolation from friends and peers, getting in trouble in school, changes in mood or behavior, depression, recklessness, self harm, suicide talk, dramatic changes in dietary and sleeping habits and lastly, suffering a personal trauma.
If these signs are noticed, it is encouraged to ask questions like “Are you thinking about suicide or killing yourself?” It is also important to never leave anyone alone, and call a professional. Your job is to try to get someone to the help they need, not to be the help. It is important to act quickly. And lastly, tell someone that you are worried for your friend’s safety.
If you would like to pledge to be one of the nine then #9outof10 or #ipledged. For more information about contemplating suicide, warning signs, or action steps go to nineoutoften.org
Another important booth was the Rise Up Booth. This booth reminds women that they are not alone when it comes to sexual violence or intimidation. It is a way to give students power and right world that they feel sexualizes them.
Ana Gonzalez, Mercy College’s Equity Compliance Specialist, reminded students to speak out about sexual injustice. She addresses the fact that one in three women worldwide experiences some form of sexual violence or intimate partner violence. One in six men experiences sexual violence, and less than 50 percent of victims report these crimes. Also, she encourages students to us their voice by signing up for Take Back the Night, a foundation to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness of sexual abuse, domestic violence, dating violence and all forms of unwanted sexual violence. For more information about Take Back The Night or sexual violence, visit http://takebackthenight.org.
Fresh Check Day also included more lighthearted booths like the Look for the Good Booth where students were asked to write things they are grateful for. This reminded people how good they have it and urged them not to focus so much on the negative. Gratitude improves self-esteem, reduces depression, improves ability to cope with difficult situations, creates stronger social bonds, and improves physical health. It’s a great way to improve your mood by looking for the good in yourself and others. This organization shifts attitudes with gratitude to bring meaning and purpose to people’s lives. To join the movements, please visit www.lookforthegoodproject.org.
Another outlet Fresh Check Day provided was Paint Your Art Out. Art is a form of release from stress and worries that helps students, allowing students to draw, color, or paint the stress away. They also had an Up Life booth to make students smile with positive quotes and candy, reminding students to do things that make you smile. The GLOW UP club gay and straight alliances got involved with the Be Yourself booth that allowed students to tie dye shirts to show their individuality and unique style with the reminder for students that they can be themselves without judgment from others. GLOW UP’s mission is to create a safer college community and make efforts to get more students involved on campus. The Elephant in the Room booth allowed students to address stigma and misconceptions people have about them and then hit an elephant filled with goodies to releases stress about the things they may feel bad about or things they feel they were judged on.
Wynona Medina, Vet Tech Freshman, explained how she to feels anxiety and can over think sometimes and becomes stressed. Fresh Check Day has shown her better outlets to release stress. She enjoyed the Be Yourself booth the most. She said, “Even though we are usually set in our ways, we should get out of out comfort zones more often.”
Daris Despradel, Psychology freshman, said when asked about Fresh Check Day, “I Loved It!” She appreciated the awareness of mental health, as this is the field she is looking forward to entering.
President Timothy Hall was also at the event. He admits to feeling anxiety himself and stated that no one really likes to talk about these issues. He’s proud that Mercy can have events like this to help talk freely and compassionately about issues that most people have been through.
Although people all have personal wars going on within themselves, with events like Fresh Check Day, students can feel that they do not have to carry the weight of their burdens alone. The Mercy students and staff have compassion for one another. The fact that we can lean on each other makes that the hard times easier to bear.
Giving up is never an option in life; everyone has faced struggles. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but it may just look that way from a distance. However tending to your own lawn and taking extra steps to making your side greener is way more effective than throwing a petty party for yourself.