Dartmouth is celebrating Wellbeing Week: Spring Into Action starting Monday with activities and resources for faculty, staff, and students to help support overall well-being and mental health.
The events will culminate Friday afternoon with Unwind Your Mind—a community gathering on Mass Row dedicated to “increasing and elevating dialogue around issues of mental health and well-being in a positive, celebratory way,” says Caitlin Barthelmes, director of the Student Wellness Center, one of several of the event’s co-sponsors.
Unwind Your Mind will feature information booths for a variety of student organizations and offices from around campus, a prize drawing, free refreshments, and a host of activities, including yoga, tie-dying, spike ball, mental health screenings, and painting pots that hold succulent plants.
Siddhant Babla, the well-being program coordinator, says this is an opportunity to both show and strengthen the caring community that exists at Dartmouth. “There are a wide range of mental health resources available at Dartmouth provided by committed and caring professionals and peers,” says Babla. “We are bringing together all these stakeholders to provide attendees a comprehensive overview. We hope that this event enables them to engage with resources that suit their needs, and provides an opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to connect over mental health ideas and initiatives.”
The Dartmouth Counseling Center, another event co-sponsor, has hosted a similar event for students for the past five years “as a way to destigmatize mental health concerns, create an opportunity to learn more about mental health resources, and to promote suicide prevention,” says Associate Director Alexandra Lenzen.
After two years of virtual programming because of the COVID-19 pandemic, events will once again be in-person. “We hope this will be our most successful and well-attended event yet,” Lenzen says. “We hope Unwind Your Mind provides an opportunity for the Dartmouth community to gather together, have some fun, learn something new, and connect with resources.”
Heather Earle, the director of the counseling center, says a number of student organizations have helped with the event over the years, and that this year the name has been changed and outreach to more departments has taken place.
“We have been very thankful for this involvement and could not have done it without student support,” Earle says.
The week’s events, which coincide with the national Mental Health Awareness Month, are an opportunity to highlight ongoing efforts, initiatives, and services that are available year-round, Barthelmes says.
“For instance, weekly yoga and mindfulness sessions are consistently offered across all terms at Dartmouth,” she says. “Students can schedule check-ins with professional staff, graduate students, and undergraduate peers throughout the year.”
Wellbeing Week and Unwind Your Mind are part of Dartmouth’s ongoing effort to improve mental health on campus, which includes its four-year partnership with the Jed Foundation’s JED Campus Program, says JED Assessment Project Manager Katie Lenhoff.
During recent site visits with Dartmouth’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, Jed representatives and stakeholders across campus explored ways of “promoting social connectedness, increasing help-seeking behaviors, and provision of mental health and substance misuse services,” Lenhoff says. “Unwind Your Mind advances our work in those domains as we seek to develop a comprehensive, systematic, cohesive, actionable, and sustainable strategic plan to strengthen mental health across campus.”
Other Wellbeing Week and Unwind Your Mind co-sponsors include the Dartmouth Graduate Student Council, Dartmouth Mental Health Student Union, Student Assembly, Sexual Assault Peer Alliance, the Class of 1977, and Wellness at Dartmouth.