Students will have the opportunity to learn about mental health and spread suicide prevention tips at WVU’s first-ever Fresh Check Day.
Fresh Check Day will be held from 3-6 p.m. Thursday at the Student Recreation Center.
An event hosted at countless colleges and universities throughout the year, Fresh Check Day is the signature program of the Jordan Porco Foundation, an establishment created by Ernie and Marisa Porco in 2011. Driven by the death of their son, Jordan, a freshman in college at the time, the Foundation and its programs aim to spread suicide awareness and prevention through all levels of the student population.
“To me, the name of the event means to take a different perspective and check on yourself,” said Courtney Weaver, director of WELLWVU. “We always do checkups for physical health, but this is a fresh opportunity to check on yourself in a different way — to prioritize your mental health.”
The event itself will feature seven different exposition booths, each pertaining to a separate, but equally important, aspect of mental health care and suicide prevention.
The “Check-in and Chillout” booth, which is being run by the Carruth Center, will provide free depression screenings and give students the chance to participate in stress-relieving activities, such as painting.
Other booths will have focuses on self-acceptance, the importance and positive effects of physical activity, and the promotion of responsible alcohol consumption.
Outside of the booths, students will be able to partake in free food and drinks and enjoy live music throughout the entirety of the event.
Students who want to participate in events like these in the future are encouraged to join WELLWVU’s Student Wellness Ambassador Team. On top of hosting and organizing events such as Fresh Check Day, wellness ambassadors routinely visit living communities around campus and promote knowledge and discussion of mental health topics.
“I’d like to see our community be more open when they’re talking about mental health, and for it to be seen that seeking help is something positive,” Weaver said. “We have so many people on campus looking to help students, but the people who need that help usually don’t know about it. We want to change that.”
Informing students that asking for help is a positive thing instead of something negative is a strong drive for the event, as well as enforcing the idea that many students can often be the very help another person needs.
Weaver said the best way to make sure everyone has a comforting hand when they need it is to start and sustain a dialogue on it.
“I think the more you talk about something, the less of a stigma there is, particularly pertaining to mental health,” Weaver said. Everyone needs help, and we want students to learn that it’s OK to ask for it, whether it be from a trained professional or a friend.”