George Mason University

News at Mason

Spring into Well-Being events help Mason community thrive

March 16, 2017   /   by Whitney Hopler

This year’s Spring into Well-Being campaign, March 20–April 28, includes many events  that relate to aspects of well-being—from exercise and nutrition to happiness and kindness.

The events kick off on all of George Mason University’s campuses on the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness Monday, March 20. Each campus will host a “happiness wall” where faculty, staff and students can post messages about what makes them happy and how they spread happiness to others.

Gathering at the happiness wall in 2015 was a memorable experience, said AnnaMarijka Tilleman, director of the well-being team for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, which is sponsoring the event.

“It just felt like the community really came together,” she said. “It was a fun way to interact with the Mason community and get friends involved with something that would make a difference in their day.” 

Acts of kindness on campus will also be in the spotlight, thanks to several “kindness capes” at the Fairfax Campus to draw attention to people who are caught saying or doing something kind for others. Cape recipients will be challenged to find someone else who is being kind and bestow the cape on that person­—fueling an ongoing cycle of kindness. The superhero-style capes are designed to encourage people to incorporate kindness into each day they’re working or studying at Mason.

Spring into Well-Being also aims to help those who are struggling with well-being challenges. Mason's Counseling and Psychological Services and University Life will co-sponsor free mental health training for faculty, staff and students who register. The eight-hour training, through the National Council for Behavioral Health, will be split into two four-hour sessions, from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, and Friday, April 7, in Merten Hall, Room 1203.

“The training works to reduce the stigma that is often associated with mental health concerns,” said Katie Clare, assistant dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “It brings community members together to learn and to be in conversation with each other about these challenging topics in a safe space.”

Anxiety, depression and struggles with alcohol and other drugs are all common mental health challenges facing people in college. It’s important for anyone at Mason who is dealing with a mental health challenge to seek help—and for those who aren’t to reach out to those they know who could use help, said Clare.

“The only way the stigma can go away is if we embrace the issue in a proactive, helpful way,” she said.