by Nora Cook, Staff Writer
One in 10 students have thought about committing suicide. As part of Student Wellness and Health Promotion’s Wellness Week initiative, the ballroom was converted into a tour of mental health and suicide prevention strategies. Michele Martin, Associate Director of Student Wellness and Health Promotion (SWHP), says she was inspired by the lack of mental health awareness on college campuses. Fresh Check Day had peer leaders and various Departments host booths that helped strategize plans for talking about and de-stigmatizing mental health.
The Fresh Check program was created by the Jordan Porco Foundation, an awareness group founded by the parents of a student who died by suicide. Through these events, they have found that 82% of attendees say they are more comfortable talking about mental health. 86% of them say they are more prepared to help a friend.
The Housing Department brought their new friend, Gloria, a giant inflatable pink elephant. Gloria was there to help students share their own personal elephants in the room.
Katie Fester, Assistant Housing Director, said that, “Secrets build stigmas and stigmas reinforce secrets.”
By allowing attendees to let go of their secrets, they hope to support others who might have the same issues.
The Peer Leader’s booth had fun releasing stress and enabling inspiration through finger painting.
On the other side of the ballroom, it was explained by the Recreation and Wellness department how introducing even just one exercise into your routine can benefit your overall mental health and coping.