Photo courtesy of Alex Liosatos
On Thursday, November 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the event space in the Campus Center, Fresh Check Day is returning to Lakeland University. This uplifting mental health fair includes student organization-run booths, drinks, snacks, and multiple prizes. Focusing on several different messages, each booth focuses on topics, such as suicide prevention, body image, stigma reduction, and coping skills. By engaging the entire college community in this campus-wide movement, students are reminded that they are not alone and that their mental health is valued just as much as their physical health or their academic standing.
Nationally, more than 175 colleges run an annual Fresh Check Day event. At Lakeland, this is the third year Counselling Services has hosted Fresh Check. Alex Liosatos, Director for Counselling Services, chose November to host the event because it was early enough in the academic year to make an impact with first-year students (though all students are welcome) and late enough that organizations have formed and can act as staff for the booths. Fresh Check Day promotes social connectedness, develops life skills, increases help-seeking behavior, and potentially identifies students at risk.
For students attending the event, Fresh Check Day aims to create an approachable and hopeful atmosphere where students are encouraged to engage in dialogue about mental health. In effect, bridges between students and the mental health resources available on campus, in the community, and nationally can be built. According to the post-event evaluations collected by the Jordan Porco Foundation (JPF), the organization behind the event, 82% of students said they’re more likely to ask for help, 83% are more likely to help a friend in need, 87% are more aware of resources, and 82% are more comfortable talking about mental health. For Students working the booths, Alex hopes that they will gain a deeper knowledge of the topic presented at their booth as they are all given materials about messaging on that topic and on suicide prevention. She hopes that all volunteers will also participate in the event as they are also eligible for prizes.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and by attending Fresh Check on Thursday, even just stopping by a few booths, you might be impacting someone’s life. Take some time to attend, observe, participate and help bring change around mental health stigma on November 11th in the Campus Center.