By Victor Ordonez
In an effort to quell what student leaders see as alarming mental health trends at college campuses, United Student Government, Counseling and Psychological Services and other campus organizations and clubs held Fresh Check Day this past Friday.
Catherine Maccaro, FCRH ’17, vice president of health and security for United Student Government Rose Hill, directed the program to create an approachable atmosphere for students to have a dialogue about mental health, as well as a place to learn about ways to de-stress and practice self-care.
Through the coalition of clubs and organizations, the program supplied attendees with Zumba classes, yoga classes and back massages. Those in attendance were also supplied with informative statistics concerning mental health on college campuses.
For instance, the PRIDE Alliance provided data on mental health issues plaguing the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ youth are up to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers and about 45 percent of 18 to 24 year olds within the transgender community have already attempted suicide, according to pamphlets handed out at the PRIDE Alliance table.
“Sometimes people feel like they don’t have a place,” said PRIDE Alliance member Eileen McLean, FCRH ’18. “The good thing about going to Fresh Check Day is receiving a visual representation of people who are supportive of our community.”
Christine Phelan, GSB ’18, directed the “Look for the Good” table. The table encouraged attendees to write positive messages and display them for others to see. Studies have shown that improving positive outlook leads to improvements in both mental and physical health, according to Phelan.
Fresh Check Day is a program that was created by the Jordan Porco Foundation in order to bring awareness to mental health resources on college campuses. The foundation specializes in suicide prevention and awareness. Macarro found that this message was an ideal one to share with the Fordham Community.
“The program strives to increase awareness of the resources on campus, reduce the stigma and misconceptions around mental health, emphasize peer-to-peer messaging,” said Maccaro. She added that the event would “increase [students’] willingness to ask for help if experiencing emotional distress.”
Fresh Check Day is likely to be annually rather than semesterly, according to program Directors.
Other clubs and organizations who sponsored the event include the Office for Student Involvement, Campus Ministry, University Health Services, Ram Fit Center, the Fordham Club, Active Minds, PRIDE Alliance, Mediation Club, Achieving Change Together, Flipside and Fordham University Emergency Medical Services.
Approximately 42,773 Americans commit suicide every year, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. With this, one in every 12 U.S. college students makes a suicide plan, according to National Data on Campus Suicide and Depression.