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UConn’s mental health services reaches out to students at Fresh Check Day

Senior Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, April 28, 2013

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 18:08

Fresh Check

CORYN WASSIK/The Daily Campus

Jordan Burnham is pictured above discussing his survival of a nine story fall and suicide attempt at “Fresh Check Day.” The event also included tents and booths that offered students information about mental health services Saturday.

UConn hosted its first Fresh Check Day at the Student Union quad attracting large crowds of students to learn more about the mental health resources offered on campus.

Large blow up tents were set up with various booths that offered students information and relaxing activities they could participate in. The yoga tent offered to teach different techniques to reduce stress. There was The Conduit Center where students could receive a vibrational massage using gongs and other low-key instruments.

“We are providing tools, options and starting conversations on mental health,” said Leah Nelson the outreach coordinator. “We are showcasing the available resources for students on campus. We are sending a positive message on mental health since it’s not often talked about in an open way.”

Nelson said her hope is with all the positive feedback this event would be a great fit for Spring Weekends in the future and shows that the university cares for its students. Fresh Check Day began at Eastern Connecticut State University last year and another one was held for the town of Durango, Colorado. It showcases tools, coping methods and programs offered to students if they feel their mental health is at stake.

“I think it’s (Fresh Check Day) important to show that we have a caring community,” said Betsey J. Cracco the Director of Counseling and Mental Health Services. “There are many resources and it’s a good reminder to take care of yourself especially this time of the year.”

The event also offered booths for on campus groups such as Active Minds, Chill Out Zone, presented by the department of wellness and prevention services and a lot more. Each booth had its own methods to deal with stress. The Chill Out Zone gave out free earplugs, candy and other items while other tents gave away free t-shirts and various items. Free food was given out and students could participate in a raffle that had large prizes if they collected a certain number of stamps from each of the tents. Also there were massage tents and the Benton booth had students use darts to pop balloons full of paint onto a large canvas.

“It’s a good place to chill out and do really cool things,” said Alex Kinstler, 2nd-semester mechanical engineering and German double major. “It’s a great way to spend a lazy Saturday.”

In the Service Members tent students could write messages to soldiers currently serving and learn about the issues that student service members face on daily basis.

“When you are on active duty your moral can go low especially in a war zone,” said student veteran Matt Anderson, 3rd-semester pathos biology major. “Letters from home can keep you grounded.”

In another tent presented by all the cultural centers ‘Love is Louder’ students could write love is louder than a certain negative thing that’s been on their mind. They also had the option to make a short video explaining what they think love is louder than.

“I think it’s (Self Check Day) is a source of positivity for students,” said Khadijah Hayes, 2nd-semester biology major. “It eliminates all the negative thoughts.”

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