On Wednesday, April 11, Buena Vista University (BVU) Counseling Services and University Counselor Mike Walker hosted “Fresh Check Day,” for students across campus to check-in with their mental health and find resources to support themselves on campus.
Fresh Check Day is a nationwide program sponsored by the Jordan Porco Foundation which includes informational booths, games, and prizes or giveaways to encourage conversation about mental health and increase positive reinforcement for struggling students.
“We’re giving them an opportunity to interact with some things that may be less talked about on campus, and ultimately it is to reduce the stigma around mental health on this campus,” Walker said. “The more we can get people talking about it, the less stigma there is and the more people are likely to reach out and get help.”
Students who attended the small expo from 2 – 4 PM last week participated in booths that promoted self-appreciation and acceptance, while earning stamps for prizes. Counseling Services also partnered with student organizations like BVU Team Wellness, who held their own booth encouraging students to use their resources on campus.
BVU junior Mikayla Foster says the event was not only important to her for her participation in Team Wellness, but personally, too.
“I thought it was really cool that we’re focusing on students mental health and we are recognizing that because I come from a community where we have faced a lot of suicides and deaths due to mental illnesses, and that’s really sad,” Foster said.
Another important part of Fresh Check Day is to encourage peers to understand signs of mental health concern and be an advocate for those who may be struggling. Foster says her favorite booth allows students to talk about the stigmas surrounding mental health while coloring an empowering message, “Today is going to be fabulous.”
Colleges and universities across the nation are participating in Fresh Check Day to promote peer to peer interaction combating mental health stigmas. If you are in need of a “fresh check,” or someone to talk to, contact Walker at [email protected]