YMHC Workshop Series

  • A two-hour, weekly workshop series on Mental Health and Wellness
  • Register for all 10 workshops and receive a free digital Mental Wellness Workbook at series completion (savings of $75)
  • $25 for one workshop
  • $20 each for workshop series of 10
  • Once you register, you will be sent the Zoom link and details
  • Tuesdays at 7 pm ET starting Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Mental health concerns directly impact one in every five young people. The remaining four will know a friend, family member, or classmate that struggles with their mental health. It is essential that we gain a better understanding of the challenges involved in supporting a young person with a mental health challenge.

The youth mental health field is a new field for most people. YMHC has been on the frontlines of youth mental health for many years. The YMHC director is an educator and has taught elementary, secondary, post-secondary and adult education students in Canada and Africa. YMHC has lived and learned experience of youth mental health issues. We have contributed to provincial and national change in education that recognizes mental health as a disability which must be accommodated in the school system. We have produced numerous youth mental health and wellness educational materials, resources and tools and created peer support services and advocacy and support services that have benefited people across Canada.

We have 10 workshops for you to gain a better understanding of youth mental health challenges and disabilities. This workshop series will explore many of the common mental health issues impacting young people. Participants will learn strategies for supporting young people and reducing the very real stigma and challenges surrounding mental illness.


Please select an option below to register.

$25 for one workshop

$20 each for workshop series of 10

Week 1. COVID Mental Health

We are experiencing unprecedented times and as a result, never have so many people been feeling intense anxiety related to COVID-19 and our uncertain future. The intent of this workshop is to understand COVID mental health issues, including our anxiety reaction, ways to manage and tools for supporting self and others. 

In this course we will cover the anxiety and mental health responses to COVID, the development of strategies to manage COVID anxiety, the effects of isolation, ways to build community care and social solidarity and support, and strategies to build resilience to societal changes.

Week 2. Mental Health 101

This workshop provides an overview of mental health, mental health issues and mental illness. It’s aimed at all people who want to gain a better understanding of mental health challenges and disabilities.

It will help to:

  • better understand mental health issues and mental illness: signs, symptoms, causes and treatment
  • understand the most common types of mental illnesses among young people, including Anxiety Disorders, Eating Disorders, Depression and other mood disorders and other affective disorders and thought disorders
  • become familiar with resources available to provide information and support

Week 3. Anxiety 101

Anxiety represents our body’s natural alarm system, resulting in the flight, fight and freeze response. When reactions to situations cause intense anxiety, thoughts and fears, or when reactions arise too frequently or intensely and don’t match actual situations, these anxiety-fueled reactions can interfere with life and our ability to function causing great distress.

This workshop provides an overview of Anxiety Disorders, causes, effects, signs and symptoms, types of treatment and ways to support someone with an Anxiety Disorder.

Week 4. Emotional Regulation

Emotional dysregulation is one of the most challenging behaviors impacting a young person and their family. Intense reactions that can be verbal, physical or emotional result when a young person is overwhelmed and unable to cope with strong feelings, reactions and fears. If children could do better, they would. We will explore ways to build their capacity to do better.

Skills to build:

  • Strategies for emotional and bodily awareness and regulation
  • Introduction to different cognitive emotion regulation strategies
  • Learning the differences between the positive and negative strategies that we use to regulate our emotions
  • Recognizing the use of effective and ineffective strategies in everyday situations;
  • Regulate emotions with self-soothing, coping thoughts, and grounding

Week 5. Sources of Strength

In this workshop, we review evidence and strength-based practices in mental health that increase the development of coping strategies, problem solving, thought processing and stress management.

This workshop will help you:

  • Learn how to approach challenges in manageable steps
  • Learn how to challenge your anxious, negative, unhelpful beliefs and thoughts
  • Learn how to face fears
  • Learn about anxious thinking, depressive thinking, self-critical thinking, perfectionistic thinking, and excessive worry
  • Learn and practice ways to challenge and modify unhelpful ways of thinking and to think in a more “balanced” way
  • Identify emotional triggers

Week 6. Sources of Support

This workshop will look at the school and community support available to students, possible educational accommodations for students with mental health challenges available in schools, the development of a mental wellness safety plan, and other aspects of mental health supports, services and resources.

Week 7. Navigating the Education System

All children in Canada have the right to public education, but getting educational needs met can be challenging. Students with special needs including mental health disabilities may require adaptations to the curriculum or extra support from support professionals. Often, advocacy and collaboration with schools will be necessary for parents of these children, but both these tasks require some knowledge of how to navigate the system. In this workshop, we will explore the language, systems, policies and procedures for accessing services, supports and accommodations.

Week 8. Human Rights and Accessible Guidelines: Supporting Students with Mental Health Challenges

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) declares that “the right to health and the right to education is a fundamental part of our human rights and of our understanding of a life in dignity”. The preamble to the 1946 Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The relationship between mental health and human rights is an integral and interdependent one.

In this workshop, we will discuss the relationship between education as a service and mental health as a disability which must be accommodated by the education system and how that impacts our understanding of inclusive education, human rights and equitable access.

Week 9. School Phobia and “School Refusal”

“School Refusal” is a debilitating condition in which students experience extreme anxiety, phobia and panic attacks in waking up, leaving the house and entering the school building. 

Despite its prevalence, it is poorly understood and poorly managed. How schools respond is pivotal as everyday counts. The longer a student is away from school, the more difficult it is to resume school and the more entrenched the pattern becomes. When poorly managed, the impact of non-attendance due to mental health disabilities is far reaching and life altering. Some students fail to return to school. All experience serious disadvantage. Many students lose their education, future potential and some students lose their lives. Absence from school impacts future employment, relationships, social functioning, and mental health. 

In this workshop, we will explore the nature of school phobia, ways to support a student with intense school anxiety, international best practices and research for “school refusal” and possible ways to support re-entry out of mental health crises and back to schooling.

Week 10. Challenges in Youth Mental Health and the Way Forward

This workshop will use a social justice, health and education equity lens to explore historic and current societal and systemic obstacles to youth mental health supports and services. We need to understand the challenges that youth and their families face when accessing mental health and suicide prevention supports, services and needs-based educational accommodations. Without an understanding of the reality for youth and their families, we cannot explore strategies for creating the change necessary to support the lives, health and futures of young people.

About the Workshop Facilitator

Sheryl Boswell is an educator who has taught elementary, secondary, postsecondary and adult education students in Canada and Africa. She is the director of Youth Mental Health Canada and a child and youth mental health expert. Sheryl is also a suicide loss survivor. She believes that youth mental health education is a critical force for change and that we all have a responsibility to support the lives, health and education of young people with needs-based accommodations that demonstrate our commitment to young people.

Target Audience

This workshop series is applicable to anyone wanting to learn more about youth mental health issues, challenges, accommodations and supports, including youth, families, educators, healthcare and mental health professionals.

Method of Delivery

Presentation, video, and group discussions.

What makes this workshop series so unique?

It provides a comprehensive, informed, practical approach based on international best practices and research and evidence and strength-based practices by an educator with lived and learned experience of mental health challenges.  

This workshop series will provide you with the following:

  • Tools you can use that will make a dramatic difference in supporting yourself and others with mental health challenges
  • Holistic, multidimensional approaches to mental health and wellness
  • Approaches that go beyond just superficial band-aid mental health and wellness approaches
  • An in-depth, comprehensive understanding of living with youth mental health challenges and disabilities
  • An understanding of the reality of attitudinal, systemic and structural challenges in mental health
  • The empowerment to advocate for greater access to societal systems
  • The tools, resources, strategies, information and skills to advocate for and access mental health supports, services and accommodations and create a world living in for all people
  • The recognition that healthy functioning with a mental health disability is possible