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Fresh Check Day brings light to student wellness

UNH’s annual Fresh Check Day occurred last Thursday, Oct. 6 in the Hamel Recreation Center. Brought forth by the Jordan Porco Foundation, the mission of the event is to raise awareness of resources pertaining to suicide prevention and mental health across different college campuses nationwide.
From 11a.m.–2 p.m., students swung by the event to grab free food, engage in the interactive booths, pet some friendly dogs and win prizes, which included a free flat screen TV.
It was more than just a day to relieve stress, as it was also a day to promote and emphasize the importance of overall wellness, with a spotlight on mental illness and mental health.
Carly Barber, an intern at the office of health education and promotion in the sexual health department, said that she hoped students who attended the event learned more about what resources the campus has to offer.
“Knowing that there are other services offered, like [programs for] drugs and alcohol or eating disorder help or sexual health is good,” Barber said. “[This event] is a fun way to get introduced to it, if they have never really been exposed to it. I’m hoping it’s a hit with students and that they like it.”
The goal of this mental health awareness day is to create and encourage conversation about mental health issues, raise public awareness and break down the stereotypical boundaries that mental health can sometimes hold.
UNH sophomore and Project Sunshine volunteer Camille Starr said that she agreed this day is much needed.
“I think there’s so many [stressful situations] at college,” Starr said. “This is nice, it’s a free thing where [students] can come just check up on themselves and make sure they’re doing okay –or maybe they’ll say, ‘Oh I relate to this,’ or ‘I need to focus more on this,’ where they don’t have to take time and schedule an appointment or anything like that.”
“I feel like Fresh Check is one of the only things that UNH really does that really focuses on suicide prevention but in a peer-to-peer teaching way,” UNH student and Health Services intern Rebecca Laliberte said. “It’s more interactive, you’re hands on. It’s not a heavy thing –it’s relaxing to spend time with the therapy dogs, check in and chill out or write down insecurities. We’re trying to promote the healthy aspects of a healthy college community.”
Laliberte said that she hopes to make Fresh Check Day more than a single day event, and plans to use information she learned at the event in regard to what stresses students out the most, and potentially turn it into a weekly or monthly event. “At finals time, at the library, they have so much for you to do. But people are that stressed the whole year,” she said.
Also in attendance was Maggie Wells, the education and outreach coordinator at the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP).
“I think there is a life skill to be learned about reaching out and asking for help and knowing that there’s so many different places that are willing to help, not just when you’re here at UNH, but there are replicas of these booths out in the real world, and learning the skill of seeking that out when you need it, is huge,” Wells said.

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