Fresh Check Day Engages Students in Conversations on Mental Health, Suicide Prevention

Ellen Hu ’24

On April 15, Scripps College hosted Fresh Check Day, an event focused on promoting student mental health and providing a space for reflection on personal wellness. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., students were able to interact with a variety of booths and activities on Bowling Green Lawn.

Fresh Check Day is a program put on by colleges around the nation to bring awareness of suicide prevention and promote mental health. It was created by the Jordan Porco Foundation, a non-profit organization whose goal is to raise awareness of young adults’ mental health and prevent suicide. The event has been held at over 100 colleges and universities, including all of the 5Cs. This is the fifth year that Scripps has hosted Fresh Check Day.

The event was co-sponsored by the Tiernan Field House and the Office of Case Management. During the spring 2021 semester, when all classes and events were virtual, the 5Cs hosted the event collectively. However, this year Fresh Check Day was held at each of the separate schools.

According to the Fresh Check Day website, “Fresh Check Day aims to create an approachable and hopeful atmosphere where students are encouraged to engage in dialogue about mental health and helps to build a bridge between students and the mental health resources available on campus, in the community, and nationally.”

13 booths were available for students to interact with. The Jordan Porco Foundation requires any institution who hosts Fresh Check Day to provide booths with specific themes. 10 of the booths were required for the event, as per the Fresh Check Day design, but an additional three booths were designed by Scripps offices and organizations who wanted to participate.

In an attempt to increase participation at all of the booths, students could participate in a scavenger hunt to get free tacos and enter a raffle to win prizes. Each booth had a stamp and students who collected at least five stamps could turn in their card to win.

The scavenger hunt aspect of the event drew in many students. “I work at Tiernan Field House, and they’re running this,” said Nyarai Khepra ’22. “My friend, who also works there, told me they have tacos so I was like, ‘I’m definitely going to come.’”

While it was up to attendees to decide which booths they wanted to visit, one booth was necessary for those hoping to finish the scavenger hunt: “Nine out of Ten.” The booth was located directly next to the check-in table and brought attention to suicide prevention.

After learning that one out of every 10 college students contemplate committing suicide, students were asked to think about what they could do to support their peers as well as the resources that are available to them. As a last step, attendees were asked to sign a pledge to help their peers who might be struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Pre-designed booths covered a variety of mental health and wellness topics. Activities such as “Trash your Insecurity” fell under the category of “Younique” and encouraged students to embrace what they love about themselves while physically being able to throw away one of their insecurities.

Other booths took on a more information-based approach. The “Know your Limit” booth, run by the Student Alcohol Working Group, provided information on alcohol safety and awareness. Through two activities, the booth encouraged students to consider how much they knew about safe alcohol consumption.

“We recognize that drinking is a student behavior that happens, and we’re just trying to mitigate to make sure that people know their limits, to stay safe while they’re doing it,” said Jayati Reddy ’24, a member of the Student Alcohol Working Group. “Here we have a series of activities that will help people realize when there’s a serious problem or when they should call for help regardless of anything else.”

Attendees had the opportunity to use drunk goggles while walking a line or trying to solve an illustrated maze. Additionally, students were provided a red solo cup and asked to pour certain amounts of water that corresponded to a standard amount of different types of alcohol.

“It’s been fun seeing people with the goggles,” Student Alcohol Working Group Member Aalia Malik ’24 said. “Also, people pour a lot more than the standard size.”

Kyra Brosnahan ’24 enjoyed the “Know Your Limit” boot the most, specifically because of the activities that were available. “My friend was there, and I got to use the drunk goggles which was very entertaining,” Brosnahan said. She had one of her friends record her while she had the goggles on, only to show how disoriented she was.

Many students were drawn to booths where they were able to take a hands-on approach through crafts and painting. Two of these included rock painting with the Office of Student Engagement and motivational pendant with the Chicano Latino Student Affairs Office.

“I made this cute little heart,” Khepra said while discussing the pendant booth. “It’s to encourage yourself, so I wrote myself a little message and it made me smile.”

Overall, students greatly enjoyed the event, and saw the importance of what was being addressed. “It’s really important to spread awareness of mental health issues,” Grace Zhang ’23 said. “These events help do that.”

Image Source: Scripps College