Wellness Programs & Training


Individual students and student groups can sign up for a variety of wellness workshops led or attend a drop-in program led by our Wellness Outreach teams and professional staff. Join us at a workshop or program to learn and develop wellness-related information and skills. Or, request a workshop for your club, event, or peer group.

Types of programs:

Drop-in Programs

Our Drop-in programs don’t require registration and are often offered on a continual basis during the Fall and Winter terms from the start of the term until the start of exams.

Drop-in programs are offered in the SWELL (MUSC B118).

Mindfulness Mondays

Meditation Circle

Mondays, 3:30 – 4:20pm in the SWELL Wood Meeting Room

Looking for an opportunity to take a pause in your day? Are you interested in meditation but don’t know where to begin? Or are you already engaging in reflection or spiritual practices and looking for the support of a group? We’ll explore a variety of practices such as sitting meditation, guided meditation, artistic expression, and other activities that the group wishes to learn together.

Meditation Circle is hosted by Open Circle.

SWELL Unplugged

Wednesdays, 3:30-5:00pm in the SWELL Main Lounge

Take time for you to unplug and recharge with art and acoustic music. Find your creative outlet, whether it be crafting, acoustic music (listening or playing) and conversation (over a cup of tea). During ‘SWELL Unplugged’ we will be encouraging time away from phones, laptops and other electronics by offering a space with craft supplies and acoustic music in the background*.

*We will have playlists created or we encourage people to bring their own guitar (or other instrument) and a couple of friends!

  • Dog Therapy
  • ‘Who Am I?’Art Sessions (resuming March 14) These art-based drop in sessions are for students who are interested in expanding their understanding of self. The focus of the sessions are to learn and embrace parts of your personality that are outside of your awareness or just beginning to emerge into your awareness.  No art skills required!
  • Crafting and creative activities such as origami, gratitude cards, rock painting… (Every week!)
  • Special events such as Dog Therapy, snack making and more!
Stay tuned, yet unplugged…

Free Fruit Fridays

Free Fruit Fridays

Fridays, starting at 9am in the SWELL (while quantities last).

Getting your 7-10 fruits and vegetables each day? Drop by for a piece of fruit.

Yoga Nidra Meditation

Yoga Nidra Meditation

Mondays 1:30 – 2:30pm – SWELL Lounge MUSC B118

January 29, February 5, 26, March 5, 26, April 2, 30, May 7, 14, 21, 28,

The practice of yoga nidra meditation encourages deep relaxation on mental, emotional and physical levels.  In addition to being relaxing and restorative, this practice can also help to ease insomnia, decrease anxiety, alleviate stress, and heighten awareness and focus.  Drop-in sessions include a 50 minute guided meditation while participants lie down supported on yoga mats (mats are provided).  Opportunity for reflection of the practice is also provided.  Join a drop-in session to foster feelings of peace, calm and clarity.

Group is offered on a first come, first serve basis up to 8 members. Please RSVP by emailing Kerri-Ann.

Kerri-Ann Fitzgerald (MSW,RSW, RYT- 200) fitzka@mcmaster.ca

Stress Less

Tuesdays and Fridays, 3:30 – 4:30pm

SWELL Lounge MUSC B118

Stress less is a one hour drop in session designed to identify stressors, discuss stress physiology, review existing means of stress relief, and introduce a new method – progressive muscle relaxation.

WIND – Walk in Nature Days

Wednesdays 3:30 – 4:30 pm (beginning January 17th)

Meet at the SWELL (MUSC B118), we will leave from the SWELL at 3:30pm

The Student Wellness Centre and Outdoor Recreation (a division of Athletics and Recreation) present WIND. With WIND, you can get outside and leave your worries behind, by getting into nature with others in a positive, mutually supportive environment. No experience or skills required, just you and your hiking/walking shoes. Email us to let us know you are coming or just show up wellness@mcmaster.ca.


Get matched up with an experienced university student for advice on school, the university transition, and mental health. MacPeer is a peer mentorship group aimed at one-on-one mentoring and friendship for students looking for someone to talk to or attend events with. We hold monthly social events where you can meet new people and make connections. If you’re interested in being matched up, email Debra Earl at earld@mcmaster.ca.


Please contact wellness@mcmaster.ca if you are interested in setting up any of these workshops for a group.

Getting Real about Relationships

The Getting Real About Relationships workshop is focused on providing students with the opportunity to learn about the different types of relationships, and break down the myths of what is considered a healthy relationship. Even though this workshop is tailored to address romantic relationships, the information presented can easily be transferred to other forms of relationships. Students will work together through a series of group activities to further enhance their learning. After participating, students will be able to:

  • Define what it means to have a healthy vs an unhealthy relationship
  • Identify actions and behaviours that could potentially indicate the relationship is unhealthy
  • Understand the different resources available both on and off campus, and how to support a friend

Steps to De-Stress

The Steps to De-Stress workshop is focused on providing students with stress management  skills in an inclusive, and non-judgmental environment. Through a variety of interactive activities, participants will have the opportunity to explore the different aspects of stress and what it means to them; learn how to reduce and manage stress; and become aware of the resources available to support them.

Free Paint Night - March 28th 5-7pm

Paint Night

On Wednesday March 28th from 5-7pm the Mental Health Outreach team will be hosting a paint night. Students from different faculties and years are welcomed to join us for this FREE painting event.

All supplies and instructions included.


Registration required:


Ways to Wellness

The Ways to Wellness campaign outlines some pathways that you may find helpful as a student and some resources that might be helpful along the way. Everyone’s experience of mental health is unique. Everyone’s journeys have their own starts, paths and destinations, but if there is one thing in common it is that we can create a campus that is supportive, responsive and connected.

What's in your cup poster

The Responsible Drinking campaign educates students on various strategies that encourage safe, responsible drinking habits. It is important that students feel empowered to make informed choices about drinking, and be made aware of available resources for substance use-related concerns.


Mental Health

More Feet on the Ground

More feet on the Ground is a website that helps you to recognize, respond and refer students experiencing mental health difficulties on campus. Mental illness often strikes individuals during the years that they attend university, but early identification and treatment can help make a major difference in the lives of these students. More Feet on the Ground is intended to provide you with tools to support students experiencing mental health issues.

This site is intended to be a resource that you can reference whenever you need it. Visit More Feet on the Ground.


Mental Health on Campus

Campus life provides access to many exciting learning opportunities and engaging experiences.  It can also present a lot of frustrating roadblocks to move through and overwhelming pressures to overcome.  As a result, many students manage issues related to their mental health and well-being on a daily basis.  The stigma surrounding mental illness can make it difficult to ask for help, or even to seek out where to turn to for resources and support.  How can YOU be a helpful support to a friend, classmate or peer at McMaster?  What are ways YOU can help to create a campus community that is open and supportive?  Join us for a skill-sharing and interactive discussion related to mental health and well-being on campus.


safeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. safeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources, such as caregivers trained in ASIST. Certification included.

Upcoming safeTALK sessions:

  • March 12th (5:00pm – 8:30pm)
    • There is  a minimum number of participants required to run this training. Please register by midnight on Thursday, March 8th if you intend on registering. Notification of cancellations will be sent (if applicable) to the email address used to register the day prior to training.

Best Practices in Smoking Cessation

McMaster Univesity will become Ontario’s first 100% tobacco and smoke-free campus effective January 1, 2018.

McMaster is working with Hamilton Public health to provide more awareness of the supports that are available for those who smoke or use tobacco products and are looking to quit.

Facilitator: Michelle Wawrzyniak, Hamilton Public Health

This 2-hour session is for campus leaders who want to help
students interested in quitting smoking get connected to appropriate resources. The session will provide information to gain a better understanding of:
• Tobacco-use prevalence and impact
• Nicotine addiction and withdrawal
• Brief tobacco interventions
• Motivational interviewing principles
• Quit planning and coping with triggers
• Community Resources for smoking cessation

This training will complement the roles and skills of campus leaders and strengthen smoking cessation support within the McMaster community.

Upcoming session:

  • Wednesday November 15 , 2017 (5:00 – 7:00pm)

Exam Programs


Exam Wellness Challenge

Exam Challenge

Discover and share activities, tips, and programs that can be included in your exam plan to help reduce exam time stress.

Each weekday of exams join us on our Facebook Page to check learn and share exam stress-relief tips.

Brown Bag Breakfast

Brown Bag Breakfast

Each WEEKDAY of exams, starting at 9:30am, breakfast will be given out in the SWELL (MUSC B118) while quantities last. Breakfast includes: Fruit, yogurt and granola.

Breakfasts in the SWELL will begin on Wednesday, April 11th with a special HOT BREAKFAST (Breakfast sandwiches!).