Fresh Check Day: It's More Than Just Barn Babies And Free T-Shirts

Fresh Check Day: It's More Than Just Barn Babies And Free T-Shirts

"Checkin'-in with college students" - Learn about mental health and wellness through an amazing experience!

Fresh Check Day is the signature program of the Jordan Porco Foundation (JPF). JPF is fully committed to preventing suicide, promoting mental health, creating a message of hope, encouraging help-seeking behavior and self-care. Their goal is to educate young adults about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide and other mental health concerns; this message of hope is spread throughout college campuses.

I had the amazing opportunity of not only attending Fresh Check Day, but also participating in it here at Stonehill College. I'm part of Stonehill College's Psychology Society. Being a Psychology major, I was automatically drawn to this club, but I never knew it'd give me the incredible experience of running a table on Fresh Check Day.

Our table focused on the topic of "the elephant in the room," also known as what people don't usually like to share. We discussed how important it is to end the stigma that surrounds talking about "the elephant in the room," or your personal struggle with mental health. You're not alone and we want everyone to know this.

We did more than simply discuss this topic. We did an activity with paper elephants that allowed students to anonymously write their own "elephant in the room."

The workers of the table then proceeded to hang up all of the paper elephants around the booth, showing the different things that people wrote down. You could walk around the booth to see what others wrote and I bet you found a paper elephant that had the same thing written as yours. You don't have to go through anything by yourself.

#EndTheStigma

Our booth also had a positive uplifting vibe to it, thanks to our guest, Ellie the elephant! Ellie definitely gave students a sense of comfort while thinking of what to write.

Along with my experience of personally working a table and having the opportunity to send a message of hope to others while trying to end this stigma, Fresh Check Day is made up of so much more.

Other clubs around campus also participated by having their own tables which surrounded the quad. Each one consisted of their own message and activity. They varied from the dangers of alcohol to steps on how to conquer stress. Free coloring pages were given, diagrams, stress balls, information and much more! While enjoying a stress relieving day, you're also learning at the same time on how to help yourself and others.

What's more stress relieving than petting therapy dogs and cuddling with baby farm animals?

Other students who had the opportunity of working a table at Fresh Check Day only had positives to share as well:

"Everybody has an 'elephant in their room', or something they may go through that they may not feel comfortable discussing with others. But they should realize that they are never alone and that it's OK to talk." - Jessica Infiorati, Stonehill College 2019 (Psychology Society Publicity Coordinator)

"At Fresh Check Day this year, I worked the table for Health At The Hill. We had students write down one reason why they want to stay alive. I feel like it was such a good reminder of all the things we have to look forward to and all the things we have to be grateful for. Sometimes we get caught up in the business of life and stress can overwhelm us, but just taking five minutes to realize all we have that makes life so wonderful can go such a long way." - Alyssa Cristadoro, Stonehill College (Health At The Hill Secretary)

The students who worked the booths are not the only ones who received benefits and happiness from this event. Delighted and pleased comments were heard by everyone who attended:

"Admittedly, I only went to Fresh Check Day for a t-shirt, but I left with so much more. The entire event was extremely relaxing and completing the activities was extremely refreshing because it gave you the opportunity to overall spread happiness for yourself and others. It was a rewarding experience and I feel the event should happen more often on campus because of the benefits associated with it." - Matt Mullen, Stonehill College 2019

"Fresh Check Day is a wonderful opportunity for students to become comfortable with talking about mental health, which is super important on college campuses. The cute animals are just a plus!" - Heather Thibeau, Stonehill College 2019

The goals of Fresh Check Day aren't only said, but they're fully experienced when you attend. Some include:

- Increase awareness of mental health resources and services available to students

- Reduce stigma and misconceptions around mental health and suicide that often deter individuals from seeking help

- Empower peers to be gatekeepers by understanding warning signs and knowing what to do if a friend is exhibiting signs of suicide or a mental health concern

- Increase willingness to ask for help if experiencing emotional distress

Only inspiring and encouraging words were said regarding Fresh Check Day and the true meaning behind it. It provided many students with information about resources, services, stress relief and so much more while having an unforgettable time!

Cover Image Credit: Self

Popular Right Now

Infectious Compassion

Give a Stranger Some Free Hope!

I am definitely no newbie to this; doctors, hospitals, medications, therapies, insurance, paperwork, and the waiting. The dreaded waiting. Often the cure is worse than the disease, but the wait amplifies the symptoms of said disease. 

Like I said, I am no newbie, but I also am not an expertise. If I were an expertise I wouldn’t need the doctors, and all of that goes with being ill. But one might come to believe that after 26 years, one would at least develop a thicker skin. I try to imagine how a great spiritual leader might advise me when I fall through a crack in our system. I ask myself what lesson can be learned, for my future, and the avoidance of other cracks. I even try to learn from others who have fallen, and pass forward any pertinent knowledge I have accumulated. 

Knowledge is power, unless you’re sick. Money is power, unless you’re sick. Knowledge and money give the sick more options, but sick is still sick. Dying is still dying. Death is still death. 

With all of my knowledge, all of my wants, all of my needs, and all of my wishes, only one thing has been a constant in dealing, coping, and even healing. It is actually very basic, but often the most elusive. A placebo of sorts, amazingly it is still in short supply, but high demand. 

One cannot bottle it, market it, sell it, or cure the sick with it. But it is the most contagious agent I have ever been exposed to. A touch, a smile, a hopeful gesture or word, and I am instantly infected. Once I am infected my only desire is to infect all around me. 

So here is the big secret, the elusive placebo, the virus I covet more than any cure some specialist, drug rep, hospital, or guru peddles: Compassion. 

Devastating news is just that much easier to take in when compassion is bound to it. I accepted a long time back that I would either die from my diagnoses, or with them. No cure in sight, just a hindered life. Even though I don’t like my illnesses, I’m okay with this, I am okay with me, who I am, who I turned out to be. 

We humans don’t have to like disease, or even accept it, in us or others. But could we at least show a little compassion? For a few seconds? A fake smile? Something? 

The next time you are having a wonderful day, think back to a day that was the exact opposite. Now, the stranger next to you? That just might describe their day. Would you have liked a miniscule amount of compassion on the day you remember? Might a slight exposure of infectious happiness have helped you? 

Commit a random act of kindness and infect a stranger with some compassion! Pass it on! 

  

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With The New Year Already Gone, How Can We Improve Ourselves?

Its Never Too Late To Make A Commitment To Making Yourself Better

As January begins, people always talk about how their news years resolution never work out. Most of the time, they are right. But finding a good balanced resolution can be key. The resolution shouldn't be impossible but it also should be able to challenge you and prove to yourself that anything is possible. Here are 3 resolutions that I think all of us should begin a February as a way to make ourselves the best people.

1. Being kind to those around us

This one can be quite tough. Sometimes we just have those moments where nothing is seeming to go right and there is only a few people to blame. Overcome those emotions of anger or hatred and instead focus on improving yourself. If you got yourself into the situation, you are more that likely to get yourself out of it. This will not only improve your image to that person who you know, but also to others who may be trying to get to know you better.

2. Don't be Lazy

Not gonna lie, this is one of the hardest resolutions for people to follow. A long hard day at work or at school can often be the breaking point for people and might force them to stop doing what is necessary. For students, it might be putting in the extra work or in my case, going downstairs to get something. Being lazy is a problem for all of us and I think the best way to fix it is to start thinking of ways to keep this resolution.

3. Keep a Positive attitude

When times are good, a positive attitude is easy to keep. But as obstacles cloud our path, our negativity grows more and eventually can't be stopped. Being one of the biggest pessimist I know, keeping a happy attitude can change more than just in our own personal lives. A smile or a laugh is all it takes to brighten up someones day. Remember if you are going through a hard time, someone else also is. Showing them a sign of faith and belief in them can give them the final push to overcome their conflict.

These three resolutions are meant to help us make 2018 a year full of laughs, memories, and improve on 2017. Each of these commitments to improving ourselves will also affect others around us. Good luck keeping these resolutions.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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