VSU Takes a Fresh Approach to Mental Health
VALDOSTA — With suicide being the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 24, Valdosta State University recently partnered with the Jordan Porco Foundation for Fresh Check Day 2021 — a fresh approach to student mental health.
Fresh Check Day aims to create an approachable and hopeful atmosphere where students are encouraged to engage in dialogue about mental health. The national program also helps to build a bridge between students and the mental health resources available on campus, in the community, and nationally.
VSU’s Fresh Check Day featured students and employees from the university’s Counseling Center, Campus Pride, Health Promotions and Wellness, Peer Educators, Greek Life, Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force, Department of Social Work, Student Government Association, Campus Recreation, Student Health Center, Police Department, and Campus Dining offering everything from interactive booths and activities to peer-to-peer messaging to free food, entertainment, prizes, and giveaways.
Holly H. Wright, event organizer and VSU counselor, said Fresh Check Day was an opportunity for students to gather on Main Campus’s Palms Quad, enjoy some time in the fresh air, and support each other through positive mental health messaging in a socially distanced atmosphere. She noted that VSU is committed to offering mental health initiatives that support students in their quest to find genuine happiness and fulfillment in their personal and professional lives.
Fresh Check Day was held in conjunction with VSU’s second Wellness Day of the semester. To minimize the health risk of an extended break during the ongoing global pandemic, VSU eliminated the week-long Spring Break and replaced it with a series of Wellness Days to provide students and faculty much-needed rest time throughout the semester.
Based on national statistics from the Jordan Porco Foundation, 82 percent of students who attend Fresh Check Day say they are more likely to ask for help and 83 percent say they are more prepared to help a friend in need.
The Jordan Porco Foundation’s mission is to prevent suicide, promote mental health, and create a message of hope for young adults. Fresh Check Day is its signature program.
One in 10 college students contemplates suicide, according to national statistics provided by the Jordan Porco Foundation. Nearly one in five students entering college are already being treated for or have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
The Jordan Porco Foundation was founded in 2011 by Ernie and Marisa Porco after they lost their son to suicide when he was a freshman in college. Believing that suicide is a preventable form of death with education, awareness, and conversation, they turned their grief into action so that other families might never have to experience such a profound loss.
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