The air outside the University of Idaho Commons filled with hustle and bustle, as Fresh Check Day welcomed students to self-evaluate their own mental and physical health.
The event, sponsored by Vandal Health Education, hosted numerous booths. Students were encouraged to visit as many booths as possible in order to gain the necessary knowledge on living a healthy lifestyle.
Many of the booths promoted the importance of creativity and self-awareness.
One booth available at Fresh Check Day, Elephant in the Room, welcomed participants to write down and share personal insecurities, such as depression or physical appearance.
All entries, which were put together into a collage, would be later posted to Vandal Health’s social media accounts.
“Essentially, the entire fair is put on by Vandal Health Education, mainly to promote mental health awareness,” said Dasyre Sires, a volunteer with Elephant in the Room. “The Elephant in the Room is designed to specifically promote awareness around what people are uncomfortable talking about and to let people know that they’re not alone.”
The UI Counseling and Testing Center took part in Fresh Check Day, offering surveys for students to provide feedback on their consumption of different substances both legal and illegal.
“Take some time out, check in with yourself, see how you are dealing with your mental health, find out some resources,” said Sharon Fritz, a licensed psychologist in the Counseling and Testing Center. “We do screenings which are evidence-based approaches to help students take an assessment on whether they’re having problems in the area of alcohol, marijuana, depression, anxiety, eating disorders.”
Fritz said all too often, students will disregard unhealthy habits as normal behavior. She said the goal of the event was to let students know how critical self-care is, as well as the necessary steps to take.
“Those are common issues that students deal with: stress, anxiety, depression, substance use,” Fritz said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, have them take some time out and evaluate whether they need to make some changes.”
Nine Out of Ten, a program focused on suicide prevention, informed attendees on the most common warning signs of suicide. Volunteers told students that often times, someone considering suicide will retreat into seclusion and cut themselves off from the outside world. Nine Out of Ten volunteers said while 90 percent of people will not consider suicide, the remaining 10 percent should not be forgotten.
Meanwhile, Paint Your Art Out welcomed students to emblazon hand paintings on a large white poster. Coral Knerr, an intern with Vandal Health Education, said painting, as well as other forms of art, can help reduce stress levels and promote a healthy, happy lifestyle.
“Our booth is promoting creativity for mental wellness and letting people paint their art out,” said Coral Knerr, an intern with Vandal Health Education. “It’s been known to help with stress relief, anything going on with classes. I know it’s midterms right now and we’re trying to help people get a little creative.”
Brandon Hill can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @brandonmtnhill