VSU Takes Fresh Approach to Mental Health, Suicide Prevention

Staff Report

Thursday, March 30th, 2023

With suicide being the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 24, Valdosta State University recently partnered with the Jordan Porco Foundation for Fresh Check Day 2023 — a fresh approach to student mental health.  

Fresh Check Day aims to create an approachable and hopeful atmosphere where students are encouraged to engage in dialogue about mental health. The national program also helps to build a bridge between students and the mental health resources available on campus, in the community, and across the nation.  

VSU’s Fresh Check Day featured students and employees from various university-based offices and organizations offering everything from interactive booths and activities to peer-to-peer messaging to free food, entertainment, prizes, and giveaways.   

Holly H. Wright, event organizer and VSU’s Office of Health Promotions and Wellness manager, said, “The goal for Fresh Check Day is to engage students in a fun and festive atmosphere that is surrounded by positive mental health messages and resources. We had several students tell us how much they appreciated the event and how much an event like this was needed. This kind of feedback from students is what makes programs like this so successful.”  

Wright noted that VSU is committed to offering mental health initiatives that support students in their quest to find genuine happiness and fulfillment in their personal and professional lives.  

Based on national statistics from the Jordan Porco Foundation, 82 percent of students who attend Fresh Check Day say they are more likely to ask for help and 83 percent of students who attend Fresh Check Day say they are more prepared to help a friend in need.  

The Jordan Porco Foundation’s mission is to prevent suicide, promote mental health, and create a message of hope for young adults. Fresh Check Day is its signature program.  

One in 10 college students contemplates suicide, according to national statistics provided by the Jordan Porco Foundation. Nearly one in five students entering college are already being treated for or have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety.  

The Jordan Porco Foundation was founded in 2011 by Ernie and Marisa Porco after they lost their son to suicide when he was a freshman in college.  Believing that suicide is a preventable form of death with education, awareness, and conversation, they turned their grief into action so that other families might never have to experience such a profound loss.