Bring Be REAL to Your Campus


Be REAL (REsilient Attitudes and Living) is a campus community program that promotes the well-being and resilience of youth and college students. The group program is grounded in mindfulness, self-compassion, cognitive-behavioral coping strategies, and neuroscience. Research on Be REAL has found that participating in the program can significantly improve a range of student well-being and mental health indicators. Learn more about Be REAL in the 2-minute video below.

Be REAL has been developed and evaluated by the University of Washington’s (UW) Center for Child & Family Well-Being (CCFW) and, in partnership with the UW Resilience Lab, expanded to staff and students on all three UW campuses. More than 430 staff and 1,050 students have participated in Be REAL. The program has been offered in several student settings such as in residential halls, as a course for credit, as part of a seminar for underrepresented students, and within student affinity groups. Learn more in this program brochure.

After successfully expanding the program to all three UW campuses, we began offering the program to campuses nationally in 2022.  To date, 19 campuses and over 50 staff have participated in the Be REAL Facilitator Training across the United States.  This training brings together professionals working with students from colleges and universities from across the country. 

Bring Be REAL to your campus!

Are you interested in offering a group program to students at your educational institution? Are you interested in incorporating practices that support student well-being in your work? If so, please read on!

Facilitator Training

This training is for staff working at institutions other than the University of Washington. If you are a UW staff member and wish to participate in the UW campus training, please email Megan Kennedy at 

Why Be REAL?

1Our goal is to create a program that allows campuses to scale up programs to bolster student mental health and well-being. For this reason, Be REAL is designed to be delivered by non-clinicians (though clinicians are welcome too!) who are already working within their campus communities.  Additionally, the program blends mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral skills, as research has shown that programs combining these two areas are more supportive to student well-being than either one alone.

Be REAL is an outstanding program for campus professionals who want to support student well-being and contribute to cultivating a campus culture that centers well-being and resilience. A few reasons to bring Be REAL to your campus:

  • Research has shown that participation in the program can significantly improve student well-being and mental health across a range of indicators;
  • The program consistently receives outstanding feedback from students and staff who report that it is supportive to their well-being and inclusive of their cultural and personal beliefs;
  • Staff report that the program also provides them with tools to manage the stress of working in educational settings, especially in the ongoing COVID pandemic; 
  • Staff who participated in Be REAL training report feeling more competent in supporting students with the skills they gained from the program; and
  • The experiential training provides staff with everything needed to immediately launch a group, including a fully scripted manual and professionally developed resources to support a variety of student learning needs.   

Who should apply?

Be REAL is an excellent program for higher education staff from a range of roles engaging with students, including advisors, counselors, instructors, program managers, and more. Ideally, staff enrolling in this training will be permitted to participate and offer the program as part of their standard work hours. During the training, you will have space to brainstorm how Be REAL could be embedded in existing programs to support a culture of well-being and resilience on your campus.

About the Facilitator Training

The Be REAL Facilitator Training will be offered online via Zoom. It has two parts:

  • the 7-week REAL Pro Immersion Program;
  • the 3-day Facilitation Training; followed by an optional 1-hour individual consultation meeting when you need it. 

2024 Multi Site Training Overview1) The 7-week REAL Pro Immersion Program 

Our research and experience show that Be REAL is best delivered by staff who have participated in the same program as part of their own development, which is why we ask that instructors interested in bringing Be REAL to their campus participate in the full program adapted for professionals (REAL Pro) to familiarize themselves with the content and practices. It is important for staff to adopt mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral practices in their own lives to support their own well-being as well as to support their students. Further, staff report that the time and space to focus on their well-being enhances their group facilitation and 1-1 work with students. 

Be REAL offered to students is typically 6-weeks long, with 90-minute sessions each week. The REAL Pro Facilitator Training includes one additional session (90-minutes) at the beginning of the program for introducing the pedagogy, foundational concepts in the training, and group introductions. This portion of the training accounts for 10.5 hours. 

2) The Facilitation Training

The Facilitation Training is offered directly after the REAL Pro group ends.  The training includes: 

  • Three sessions that are 3-hours long. During the training, participants review how to facilitate key mindfulness practices, deliver cognitive behavioral skills, facilitate inquiry, and review considerations for cultivating inclusive environments for students.  
  • Three hours of small group/independent practice teaching during these three weeks.   
  • Two and a half hours of independent study and personal reflection to review the facilitation manual, facilitator webpage and professional resources.

As part of the Facilitation Training, you will receive an electronic copy of the Be REAL manual and access to our facilitator webpage. The 180-page manual includes scripts for each session that you can use verbatim or adapt as needed for your students. You will also receive professionally developed materials to supplement your teaching, including: 

  • 10 handouts (all handouts available in English and Spanish) 
  • 6 weekly newsletters that align with the Be REAL program 
  • 8 videos on key topics and content areas  
  • More than 20 guided audio practices (English and Spanish) 
  • Templates for recruiting and registering students

This portion of the training accounts for 14.5 hours.

The two-part sequence accounts for 25 hours of professional training. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available.

Consultation Meeting and Ongoing Support

Be REAL Trainers offer one-hour individual consultation meetings with each participant to support the adaptation and implementation of Be REAL at a time that works for them.  

After completing the two-part training series, participants are welcome to join the quarterly online Be REAL Community of Practice sessions. These drop-in sessions offer staff a space to exchange ideas in supporting well-being, as well as a space to reflect on their own practice and well-being.  

Training Details

Winter/Spring 2024 Training Details 

Below are the dates for the 7-week REAL Pro immersion program and the 3part facilitation training. All training components will be delivered live, online via Zoom. We are no longer accepting applications for this cohort. Please email for future training opportunities.

7-week Real Pro Immersion Program: 
Tuesdays 12:30-2pm PST
February 6th – March 19, 2024

3 Facilitation Trainings: 
Tuesdays, 11am-2pm PST 
April 2, April 9, and April 16, 2024

There will be 3 hours of small group/independent practice teaching during these three weeks. We will offer groups or you may do this on your own schedule.  

Registration Cost:

The training will be offered at a discounted rate of $750.00 per person. Additionally, institutions enrolling 3 or more people will receive a 15% discount for a per person rate of $650.00.  If cost is a barrier to you – please contact us at

Registration includes:

  • Participation in the 7-week REAL Pro program
  • Participation in the 3-day facilitation training
  • A one-hour consultation meetings with Be REAL Trainers
  • Access and use of the Be REAL manual and above-mentioned program resources
  • Access to participate in the Be REAL Community of Practice sessions

After the program, we will solicit your feedback on how the training program can be improved.


We are no longer accepting applications for the Spring 2024 cohort. If you are interested in future training opportunities, please email us at

Meet the Trainers


Sara McDermott, Be REAL Program ManagerSara Mcdermott

Sara leads CCFW’s partnerships, training, research, and program development for Be REAL.   Prior to joining CCFW, Sara spent over 8  years working as an academic advisor in various settings, including supporting high school students pursuing Running Start at the community college, a cohort program that supported first and second year pre-engineering college students from low-income, first generation and underserved backgrounds, and students studying in STEM majors.   Before her work as an academic advisor, Sara was the national coordinator of Irish Immigration Centers in the U.S. and did LGBTQI+ advocacy and program development for youth in Ireland. Sara’s work included creating an anti-homophobic bullying program, developing and delivering a self-esteem intervention, and developing a “whole-school” approach to promoting youth mental health. 

Megan Kennedy, Director of the UW Resilience LabMegan Kennedy Ma Lmhc Cropped 1024x1024 1 300x300

Megan Kennedy is the Director of the UW Resilience Lab and Co-Chair of the UW Student Well-Being Collaborative. Kennedy’s focus at the UW is in leading strategic initiatives to support student mental health and well-being. She has facilitated Be REAL groups for staff and students since 2019. Kennedy believes that building systems to support high-quality wellness and educational programs requires teamwork at every level. From engaging community stakeholders in vision-setting to partnering with students, staff, and instructors – her approach to leadership centers collaborative relationships. A background in mental health counseling, Kennedy served as Clinical Director at Youth Eastside Services (Redmond, WA) before working at the UW.


Questions? Contact Sara McDermott at