Fairfield University hosts 'Fresh Check Day'

Fairfield University hosts 'Fresh Check Day'

Image: Fresh Check On Wednesday, September 17, from noon to 3 p.m., Fairfield University will host its 2nd Annual 'Fresh Check Day,' an event designed to bring attention to college students crucial mental health concerns and suicide awareness in a fair-like setting. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. Fresh Check Day is one of the many events and programs at Fairfield University designed to prevent suicide by raising awareness and providing students with resources to get help.

This event is sponsored by the Julia Ryder Sill Foundation. Julia, a member of the class of 2013, took her life while a sophomore at Fairfield University. Her family and friends turned their grief into a Foundation to raise awareness about suicide and mental health issues.

Open to Fairfield University students, this free event will take place in the Quad (weather permitting) or in the case of rain, the Barone Campus Center, Lower Level. This is an internal Fairfield University event and not open to the greater community.

The goal is to create an approachable atmosphere where students can learn about the mental health resources and programs that exist on campus, in the community, and on a national level.

The Fairfield event will be a time when students can relax and enjoy free food and music, while learning about programs that can provide them and their friends support if the stress of college life becomes overwhelming. There will be peer-run interactive expo booths, meditation and relaxation areas, depression screenings, vibration sound massages, therapy dogs, and some fun activities. There also will be giveaways, prizes and FYE (First-Year Experience) credits for student participation. Live music will be provided by Groovestick, a band that counts among its influences Parliament Funkadelic, Chick Corea, Jimmy Smith and Soulive.

"With Fresh Check Day, we want to create a dialogue about getting help for depression and anxiety, and erase the stigma of mental illness," said Phyllis Weihs, a counselor with Fairfield University's Counseling & Psychological Services, one of the event sponsors.

"We also hope to convey to students that they are not alone, and that they can get help right here on campus," Weihs continued. "There will also be an effort to teach students to spot warning signs in their friends."

Meredith A. Smith, assistant director of Residence Life at Fairfield, said, "Last year's event had more than 400 students attend, and this year we hope to attract the entire first year class."

Fresh Check Day is the signature program of the Jordan Matthew Porco Memorial Foundation, which works closely with colleges to plan and fund events. Held at schools nationwide, the event delivers coping strategies, mental health information and resource messaging to young people. Last year's event at Fairfield, for example, offered students information on the many resources Fairfield offers right on campus.

"Fresh Check was an extremely successful event at Fairfield University last year," said Susan N. Birge, assistant vice president and director of Counseling & Psychological Services. "Students and administrators worked together to create an atmosphere of openness about mental health and the importance of seeking help when going through difficult times."

The event is sponsored by many departments at Fairfield, including Counseling & Psychological Services, New Student Programs & Leadership Development, Office of Student Involvement, Office of Residence Life, the Student Health Center, and numerous student groups.

For more information, please visit http://freshcheckday.com .

Posted On: 09-11-2014 03:09 PM

Volume: 47 Number: 47