On Feb. 4, the University of Maine brought awareness to mental health and suicide prevention by hosting its second annual Fresh Check Day. The Mind Spa worked in collaboration with the UMaine Center for Student Involvement in sponsoring the event.
The Jordan Porco Foundation, a Connecticut based organization working to combat suicide and spread mental health awareness, nationally sponsors Fresh Check Day in various locations across the United States.
The Memorial Union was filled with interactive booths where many student groups and associations came together in collaboration to recognize this day. These booths, hosted by students and faculty, educated community members about student wellness, mental health and suicide prevention. The main attraction was a raffle and a stamp card which rewarded students with a stuff-a-buddy upon completion.
At one, students wrote letters to people in the process of coming out. Students also made handmade scarves to give out to other students. Another table encouraged two people who did not know each other to write compliments on mirrors and exchange them.
Kayla Goodwin is the Orono campus organizer for Fresh Check Day. Goodwin currently works as a graduate student and assistant for the Mind Spa, which is overseen by the campus Counseling Center. She plans to graduate this coming spring with her Master of Education in Higher Education.
“The objective [of Fresh Check Day] is simple; connect with students and raise awareness about suicide prevention, while also just connecting students to our on-campus resources and creating meaningful relationships with them,” Goodwin explained.
During the planning stage of the event, Goodwin chose to hold the event during the time of typical winter slump in order to assist students in recognizing ways to look after their own mental health as spring semester stress starts to affect more of the community.
The UMaine community, Goodwin believes, is the driving factor behind the success of this event.
“A variety of offices, departments and organizations were a part of Fresh Check Day this year. The Mind Spa, Counseling Center, Center for Student Involvement, Student Wellness, UMaine Student Government, Multicultural Student Center, Graduate School, UMaine Online, First Year & Transfer Center, Rainbow Resource Center and the Bodwell Center all had booths,” Goodwin said.
“Perhaps I’m biased but any effort towards suicide prevention and mental health promotion is a success, but this event went very well. We had over 200 student participants and nine booths sponsored by on-campus departments or offices,” Goodwin said.
To find out more about ways in which students can take care of their own mental health needs, visit the Center for Student Involvement, located on the first floor of the Memorial Union, or visit https://umaine.edu/studentinvolvement/contact-us/.