Fresh Check Day To Promote Mental Health Awareness

Apr 10, 2024
A male student from the 2023 Fresh Check Day. He is wearing a dark blue shirt with black lettering that says, "Fresh Check Day", and is laying in a colorful ball pit while smiling at the camera.

Fresh Check Day 2023.

Fresh Check Day, an annual and nationwide initiative funded by the Jordan Porco Foundation (JPF) to promote mental health awareness on college campuses, is set to take place at Westfield State University on April 11. Established in 2011, JPF is dedicated to suicide prevention, mental health advocacy, and overall wellness following the tragic suicide of college student Jordan Porch. The event has been held at more than 370 colleges, with over 250,000 students participating since its inception.

Fresh Check Day is designed to be interactive, featuring activities, games, and informational booths aimed at educating students about mental health and reducing stigma around the topic. Kurt Morris, the Outreach Counselor for the University’s Counseling Center, expressed enthusiasm about the event, highlighting the collaboration among various departments and organizations.

Fresh Check Day 2023. A male student wearing a white T-shirt and hat is getting his blood pressure taken by a professional wearing a black shirt and pants. They sit beside a dark blue-covered booth as part of educating on wellness and health.
A student learning how about wellness.

“There’s a lot of people putting in great work with this,” Morris said. “I’m excited to be a part of it. There’s a lot of different departments and organizations taking part in Fresh Check Day. Everyone is pitching in.”

Morris also emphasized the importance of the event, describing it as a "joyous occasion" despite its serious focus on mental health and suicide prevention. He noted that the program provides an opportunity for students to gain valuable information and learn how to support those experiencing mental health challenges.

Fresh Check Day 2023. Two women students hold baby goats as part of learning about self-care. One has long, blond hair while the other has brown hair in a ponytail. The goats have brown fur and are nestled in their arms.
Fresh Check Day includes pet therapy, including baby goats from a local farm.

The collaboration for Fresh Check Day at Westfield State University involves about a dozen organizations from Massachusetts, including the Wildflower Alliance and Planned Parenthood. Various topics such as LGBTQ wellness, hygiene, financial aid, and stations offering pet therapy and massages will be available for student engagement. Additionally, a local farm will bring baby goats for students to interact with, continuing a popular tradition from previous years.

“We see it a lot at college,” Morris explained. “There’s students struggling, and their friends or teachers don’t really know what to do to help them. This will hopefully educate everyone and put it all in a fun atmosphere where people are enjoying themselves. These are heavy topics to deal with, but we’re making it more palatable while also being effective educationally.”

Fresh Check Day 2023. A crowd of students stand in front of a booth promoting mental health wellness. A professional wearing a blue T-shirt which says, "Fresh Check Day" is speaking to them. Paper and various arts and crafts are on the surface of the booth.
Fresh Check Day educating students on how to take care of their mental health.

Fresh Check Day underscores the university's commitment to mental health awareness and support for its student community, and will take place at the Ely Campus Center, from 1-4 p.m. For more information on the Counseling Center, click here.