On September 22, from 2-6pm in the Athenaeum Forum, Goucher College is having its very first Fresh Check Day. The event will be a resource and activities fair dedicated to improving mental health through raising awareness of the mental health obstacles college students often face, as well as introducing tools students can use to tackle these issues head on. There will be booths on topics such as mental health issues, suicide prevention, positive coping and life skills, and stigma reduction. Fresh Check is a program developed by the Jordan Porco Foundation, a family foundation that came about after the suicide of their son. This national non-profit will provide prizes for the event, such as a TV, t-shirts, and some other small items. JED Campus, a nationwide initiative of the Jed Foundation, also supports the event. The JED foundation works to promote emotional well-being, reduce the risk of suicide and serious substance abuse, and encourage the creation of healthy, thriving student communities.
Cameron Cox, the new Student Development and Outreach Coordinator, and co-chair of Goucher’s JED Campus Committee, states “I hope students learn as much as possible. I hope that we can dispel some of the myths about mental health, and really get the campus talking more about the importance of mental health.” Cox is not the only one interested in disposing with the stigma regarding mental health; students from the Peer Mental Health Advocacy Group, a club currently in the process of becoming official, are also aiding the event. This club-in-development hopes to build a base of motivated students who will explore the educational and support programs desired by the Goucher community, and create safe space in which they can educate their peers on matters related to mental health.
Jacob Givelber, a student helping to lead the establishment of the Peer Mental Health Advocacy Group, hopes that the Fresh Check Day is a success. He can’t express enough how important it is to rid Goucher, as well as other colleges and universities, of the negative stigma that surrounds mental health. He emphasizes that not talking about problems does not make them go away and that while mental health disorders cannot be seen, that doesn’t make them fake. Purging Goucher of the mental health stigma could save lives. Cameron Cox hopes “this is something where everyone can leave feeling like ‘I feel comfortable talking about this with my peers and the people I work with on campus, whether they be my professors, coaches, other students, or staff members I come in contact with.’”
Goucher’s Fresh Check Day has received support from the wider community and on-campus. Fresh Check community sponsors are The Bergand Group, Greater Baltimore Counseling Center, The Renfrew Center, TurnAround. On-campus sponsors are Athletics, Community-Based Learning, CREI, Peer Listeners, The President’s Office, The Provost’s Office and faculty, Residential Life, The Student Affairs Office, Student Counseling Services, and the Title IX office.