Students Offer 'Mental Health Reset' on Fresh Check Day
As part of their health sciences capstone course, students organized a Fresh Check Day event on campus. It was a fun, interactive, and informative way for students to learn more about the importance of mental health, suicide prevention, and self-care.
April 19, 2023
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Haley Jarnagan '23 was excited to help create a fun day for her fellow Chargers that would also help them learn ways to take care of their mental health and well-being. She was in charge of organizing activities that were aimed at helping Chargers to do just that.
Jarnagan, a health sciences major, helped plan nearly a dozen different activities that were offered as part of the School of Health Sciences' Fresh Check Day event. Created specifically for college students, the activities, which included crafts and interactive booths, offered mental health education, as well as relaxation and fun.
"I think it opened everyone's eyes, and it had a great impact," she said. "Everyone was very engaged, and many students went to every booth – not just a few of them. It was a great way to get people to be aware of the importance of mental health and to see so many people come together."
'I think this is so important'
The event, which was held on campus for the first time last year, was organized as part of the health sciences capstone course. It was a mental health fair, of sorts, that offered Chargers food, prizes, giveaways, and music – courtesy of WNHU, the University's award-winning radio station. Students also learned ways to care for their mental health that could then practice at home.
During the event, Chargers had fun painting rocks, creating sculptures, and making bracelets with words. They also created pins on which they displayed the reason why they were there. That's because a major theme of Fresh Check Day was suicide prevention, a critical initiative that students were passionate about promoting.
"It was very interactive, and everyone felt welcome, engaged, and comfortable," said Shaylee Bean '23, who helped organize the logistics of the event. "I think this is so important. Mental health isn't always discussed, and it's crucial to let people know they aren't alone."
A program of the Jordan Porco Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on suicide prevention, promoting mental health, and creating a message of hope for young adults, Fresh Check Day events are organized by universities to foster engagement, community, and education among students. As part of their capstone course, students applied what they've learned while gaining hands-on experience planning an event that would serve the University community.
For Emma Lazerson '23, who was part of the fundraising team, helping to plan the event offered a variety of unique opportunities. Not only did she further explore the importance of mental health, she also developed her confidence and networking skills. Helping to organize the event enabled her to interact with the University's deans, something that was particularly meaningful for her.
"I explained that Fresh Check Day wasn't just for students – it was for everyone," she said. "I learned how to plan and host a professional event on campus. I spoke with School of Health Sciences Dean Francis-Connolly in-person. Not everyone can say they know their dean! This prepared me to have important conversations like this, and it's good to put yourself out there."
Fresh Check Day brought together students of all majors who got involved – both as attendees and as volunteers. Matthew Anaya '23, a forensic science major, volunteered at the drink table, serving pink lemonade and fruit punch to his fellow Chargers. He enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in a fun event that did so much good for the University community.
"I felt today was definitely very positive," he said. "I hope this event was a stress reliever for the students who were a part of it."