Checking in

Quinnipiac University hosts Fresh Check Day promoting the importance of mental health

By on October 10, 2017

Erin Kane | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
In 2011, Jordan Porco committed suicide during his freshman year at Saint Michael’s College. His parents created the Jordan Porco Foundation after his death and thus Fresh Check Day was founded, according to the Hartford Courant.

On Friday, Oct. 6 Health Services hosted Fresh Check Day on Bobcat Way from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Fresh Check Day promotes mental health awareness and tries to eliminate the stigma.

In six years, Fresh Check Days have grown from one to 250 throughout the country in 35 states, according to Rachel Papke the communications manager of the foundation.

Health Service employees Mary Pelitteri, Kristen Dafonzo and Kerry Patton work year round with the Jordan Porco Foundation to put this day together.

“We try to capture it in the first six weeks of the semester,” Patton said. “It is not just for freshmen, but for those students that are very new to the college transitions and adjustments.”

It is a team effort from the Quinnipiac community to have this day be a success. Quinnipiac sends an email to faculty and different organizations on campus with the information and booths offered.

“A variety of people from all over campus volunteer,” fitness center employee Tami Reilly said. “Everyone from Res Life to fraternity and sorority life. Even different professors have gotten involved along (with) their students.”

Residential Life kicked off the event Thursday by placing pairs of donated shoes around the Quad. S.H.O.E.S stands for Students Honoring Others’ Everyday Struggles. Each set of shoes had a note attached with a true story about students’ struggles on it.

The lively atmosphere from Fresh Check Day created a welcoming environment that drew in people who passed by. Music, food and free mugs, shirts and bags were bait to lure participants in for the important meaning behind the day.

Erin Kane | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
Multiple tents around the lawn formed a circle filled with chatter. Each tent had an activity to convey a different message. The statistic “nine out of 10” was the theme of stationed table for suicide prevention. One out of 10 college students considers suicide. Nine out of 10 can help and learn how to help those struggling.

“Elephant in the room,” another station, gave students the opportunity to write down their daily stressors and let it go anonymously.

The LGBTQ+ community was represented as well at the event. Their station had students answer one of a series of questions about who they love, what they love, what makes them happy. The answers were connected in a chain to show what being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community means to them.

Along with informational tables, there were also relaxation stations as well. A masseuse gave students brief messages. There also were gongs and recliners set up for meditation.

Although Quinnipiac only has one Fresh Check Day, the work to provide mental health and suicide prevention is year round. Health Services puts a magnet with the suicide hotline number in all freshman dorms each year.

Public Safety, Residential Life and the Health Center encourage students who are or have friends that are struggling to talk to proffesionals.

“Understand how subtly our life affects us,” associate professor of psychology William Jellison said. “Day-to-day stress and hassles, can slowly wear us down. It’s important to take care of ourselves, eat well, get plenty of sleep, talk to people when you need to. It’s the day to day stressors that have the greatest impact on us.”

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