Thomas Hayes Mayo 5K to Benefit Student Mental Health Support

Race this weekend to raise funds for Thomas Mayo Lab at William Magee Institute

OXFORD, Miss. – More than 600 runners and walkers have signed up to sweat this weekend to raise money and awareness on student mental health and substance misuse on college campuses.

Proceeds from the Thomas Hayes Mayo 5K will go toward the Thomas Mayo Lab at the University of Mississippi‘s William Magee Institute for Student Wellbeing.

“Everything we’ve done at the William Magee Institute has been about grassroots movements,” said David Magee, operations manager for the institute. “I think this race is the embodiment of that. This is students deciding that this issue matters.

Thomas Hayes Mayo

“They’re raising funds to reduce the stigma for mental health and to craft the solution. There are few things that I’m more excited about in this entire world.”

The lab is named for Thomas Mayo, a former Ole Miss student who died at age 21 from fentanyl poisoning. Participants of the 5K run and 1-mile walk will start at the Sigma Chi fraternity house, where Mayo was a member. The race is the philanthropy for the fraternity.

Created in 2022, the lab pays tribute to Mayo’s life by helping students battling mental health and substance misuse through peer-to-peer education, and a new program for middle and elementary school students, parents and teachers.

The project recently launched “The Mayo Lab Podcast,” which highlights resources for young people and parents of young people struggling with addiction or mental health-related issues.

“What we see across America right now is that teens and college students are facing mental health challenges like never before,” Magee said. “We’re in the flagship university that also wants to solve world problems. If not us, who? Somebody has to do it.”

Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. Saturday (April 15) and the race starts at 7:30 a.m. Sign up for the race here.