By Hailey Briggs and Chloe Leung
U Belong, Paint Your Art, Drops in the Bucket. These all sound like art exhibits, but they were actually booths at Fresh Check Day, an Emerson event that focused on self-care and mental health.
The event aims to destigmatize mental health and offer coping strategies for students, said Matthew Carney, a campus residential director.
One way to maintain mental health in college is to visit the Academic Advising Center, where advisors can address the academic concerns of students, said Tim Douglas, a volunteer and academic advisor.
“I think mental health is just as important as physical health,” said Rebecca Palmer, freshman student.
Stepping into Fresh Check Day, students were greeted by student volunteers with a stamp card, informing them of the chance to win a flat screen television if they participate in the booth’s activities.
Students traveled from booth to booth gathering stamps, pamphlets, and snacks. One student moved quickly, only picking up the free souvenirs from each table.
At the Drops in the Bucket booth, students were asked to think about activities and characteristics that ‘fill their bucket’ and give them strength. One table distributed facts about minority groups at Emerson. At another, students wrote LGBTQ+ support letters.
At the 9 in 10 booth, students learned that 1 in 10 students contemplate suicide. Then, they were asked to be a part of the 9 in 10 that can help prevent it. This was freshman Jalyn Cox’s favorite booth.
“I liked it because even though we all think we know when to call for help, we really don’t. It’s better to be safe than sorry. You think someone’s having a bad couple of weeks but it could be something more,” she said.
“Will you pledge to be one of the nine?” volunteer and residential assistant Ilina Ghosh asked Cox.
“Suicide is the second highest cause of death among college students,” said Carney. He said that self-care is particularly important among Emerson students, who are always on-the-go.
Quirky games and exercises were set up to engage students in conversations about checking in with your mental health, but students said many lacked the actual teaching of mental health illnesses.
“I wouldn’t say I learned anything new but it was nice to see how many resources there are,” said Cox.
Getting help extends further than just the counseling center, said Erin Glover, Assistant Director of Student Accessibility Services. Some of the resources mentioned at the event were the Counseling Center, Student Accessibility Services, and the Academic Advising Center.