Evaluation of a Short Intervention to Promote Happiness and Mental Wellness for Undergraduate Students

Grant programExploring Well-being in Learning Environments: An Integrated Seminar Series and Grants Program

Grant recipientHasina Samji, Faculty of Health Sciences

Project team: Ladan Fathi, research assistant

Timeframe: July 2020 to July 2021

Funding: $4,980

Course addressed: HSCI 432 – Seminar in Epidemiology

Final report: View Hasina Samji's final report (PDF) >>

Description: My proposed project primarily supports SFU Health Promotions’ “services and supports” condition for well-being as I will be providing tips for increasing student happiness and resilience. I have observed high rates of anxiety and depression in my undergraduate and graduate classes and would like to provide students strategies to better cope with stress from school and in their lives, borrowing from concepts from positive psychology. The central idea is that happiness can be learned. Drawing from Professor Laurie Santos’s course on the “Science of Happiness,” I hope to measurably increase happiness levels with sustained effects by sharing modifiable factors influencing our happiness with students and how they can intentionally improve their happiness. Ideally the strategies will have ripple effects as students share them with peers. I hope that my focus on student well-being will also contribute to positive classroom culture through my demonstrated emphasis and interest in promoting student wellness and mental health.

Questions addressed:

  • What is the baseline level of happiness and well-being among students? Does the level change after implementation of the well-being check-ins?
  • Do the students enjoy the well-being activities, and does it impact their happiness scores?
  • What did they like/not like? Did it improve learning in the classroom?
  • Did students share elements of the intervention with others outside of the class (dissemination)?

Knowledge sharing: I presented a short powerpoint presentation at an FHS faculty council meeting in May 2021. In addition, we presented our findings at BC Mental Health Association’s Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses (HM|HC) summit in February, 2021.

Keywords: Wellbeing, happiness, coping strategies, resilience, research-based evidence, classroom culture