[media-credit id=2019 align=”aligncenter” width=”500″][/media-credit]
The university is raising awareness for mental health and giving students a chance to check in with themselves and each other on Fresh Check Day. The goal of the event is to reduce the stigma and misconceptions about mental illness and suicide and create an environment where students can comfortably talk about mental health issues.
The Jordan Porco Foundation is sponsoring the event. It is an organization that works with colleges to plan and fund events that bring attention to mental health resources on campus as well as introduce coping strategies for college students.
Mary Mascolo, consultant and psychotherapist at Quinnipiac, along with other faculty, students and volunteers, will be hosting this event on the Bobcat Lawn on Thursday, Oct. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Sometimes people with mental illnesses are struggling so much that it’s hard to go to a therapist… and the fact that this event is trying to create a positive environment is awesome,” sophomore Gabby Maure said. “It targets a topic that usually isn’t talked about much.”
The intention of Fresh Check Day is to increase people’s desire to ask for help when in distress and help students understand the warning signs of someone suffering from a mental illness.
“We can all increase our knowledge and our self-esteem,” Mascolo said. “The more we accept ourselves, the easier it is to accept other people.”
Freshman Shay Vobis said the event is important so students feel as though they have a place to turn if things get bad.
“I think that this event is a great thing to have so kids know they aren’t alone,” Vobis said.
On the day of the event, students will be instructed to visit at least five of the 10 educational booths–which are categorized into four special areas: Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Issues and Stigma, Positive Coping and Life Skills and High Risk Populations.
All participants are required to go to the “Nine out of 10” table. The phrase is a representation of the statistic that one out of every 10 students consider suicide, and the other nine out of 10 can do something to help.
“Students are taught what nine out of 10 means and some signs of suicide, but also they are asked to sign a pledge to get involved if they come across a friend who may need help with a mental illness,” Mascolo said.
Fresh Check Day will offer stations such as “Check In-Chill Out,” where students can check in with themselves and how they are feeling. Some others include, “Know Your Limits,” which is all about alcohol and “You’re Unique,” which promotes positive body image. “The Elephant in the Room” allows participants to identify something about themselves they are ashamed of or don’t like to talk about.
Freshman Adrianna Mouzouras said she isn’t sure students will want to talk about such sensitive topics.
“I think [Fresh Check Day] is really important, but I also think it’s really hard for people to open up,” Mouzouras said.
Chartwells will be donating food for the event and there will also be a DJ, Quinnipiac’s own Stefano Celmente.
“[Fresh Check Day] is upbeat. A lot of times when people think of mental health and especially suicide, nobody wants to talk about it. We certainly don’t think of it as something to have fun with as we’re learning about it, but that’s really what it is. We want people to be able to talk about this kind of stuff,” Mascolo said.