Students Turn Out for Fresh Check Day
Between 300 and 350 Sacred Heart students turned out for the school’s first-ever Fresh Check Day. The event featured food, entertainment, therapy dogs, chair massages, interactive displays, great raffle prizes and more.
“Fresh Check Day is not your typical suicide prevention event. It creates a positive atmosphere that is not usually associated with mental health programming,” said Mary Jo Mason, director of the Counseling Center, adding that 119 students participated in formal depression screenings while many more were evaluated through casual “check-in” conversations.
She said that many students also volunteered at the event. Volunteers came from Active Minds, the Social Work Club, the Student Wellness Education and Empowerment Team, the Gay-Straight Alliance, Residential Life and more. Some of the entertainment was provided by the dance team and the ballroom dance group.
Mason noted that Sacred Heart is one of the first campuses in the Northeast to offer a Fresh Check event for its students. The event included two parts – kicking off with a talk by Jordan Burnham about his life before and after a suicide attempt a few days before the Saturday event of activities.
“Fresh Check Day was a huge success among Active Minds as well as the student body,” said Candace Maisel, president of Active Minds. “We whole-heartedly entered this event hoping just one student would become open and more knowledgeable about suicide awareness. The result far surpassed this expectation. The positive energy and enthusiasm was contagious and seemed to spread across the entire campus. Active Minds was so grateful to be a small component of something so much greater than ourselves.”
“Fresh Check Day engages students through interactive activities and fun as opposed to passively offering printed information,” Mason concluded. “It appeals to a wide range of students, many of who would not ordinarily attend a mental health or suicide prevention program.”