Catholic University’s eighth annual mental health awareness day will be held on the University Lawn from 11:00 to 2 p.m. on Sept. 28. It is intended to inform students of a variety of resources for support from Student Services. The initiative, called Fresh Check Day, is held on college campuses across the country to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention on college campuses.
At Catholic University, this event is also held early in the Fall semester because it is a formative time for first-year students to learn about their campus and the support it offers to them. Through a variety of information booths, activities, interactive dialogues, and chances to win prizes, Fresh Check Day removes the stigma around asking for help. By uniting all campus support options, Fresh Check Day is not only informative, but also uplifting for students of all ages to be aware of what is at their fingertips at Catholic University.
According to a 2021 survey by the American Council on Education, 72 percent of university presidents identified student mental health as a pressing issue for this school year. In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities are taking action on the declining mental health of students. In the current campus environment, schools have been providing more support services to students, as well as openly talking about mental health
“Human dignity is so important, and mental health is something that impacts so many people, especially students,” said assistant dean of students, Amy Love, in reference to the event’s upholding of the mission of Catholic University, “We have had many students that, as a result of going to Fresh Check Day, take that next step to seek support.”
Catholic University offers a diverse range of resources for students who are experiencing mental health crises, need academic accommodations, or just want a friendly face to talk to. The Counseling Center, located in O’Boyle Hall, offers individual therapy, group therapy, psychiatric consultation, walk-in consultations, walk-in emergency services for mental health crises, outreach, and referral services to outside agencies or practitioners. The University also encourages students to visit the Center for Cultural Engagement, Campus Ministry, the Office of the Dean of Students, and many other organizations.
Fresh Check Day is an initiative of the Jordan Porco Foundation, which aims to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention on college campuses across the United States.The Catholic University of America peer education group promoting student wellness, PEERS, hosts the event in collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Students and various other student organizations.
With Fresh Check Day as their keystone event, PEERS will host two different tables with information about alcohol and drug awareness as well as support for survivors of sexual assault. The PEERS team members provide information about all of the on-campus resources at each student's disposal, while acting as equals to other students.
Catholic University’s Fresh Check Day is held in September in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. One of the booths that will be active on Fresh Check Day directly deals with suicide prevention. It refers to the statistic which holds that one in ten college students contemplates suicide. Called “Nine out of Ten,” the booth empowers students to be part of the “nine” who helps the “one,” by signing a pledge to help students who need direct peer support.