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Brighter Days: Marking World Mental Health Day

Published on 10/10/2023 by YWCA Canada

Annually on October 10th, the world commemorates Mental Health Day. Celebrated for the first time in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, the day is dedicated to increasing awareness of mental health issues. This year YWCA Canada will launch Brighter Days a mental health micro- learning series for staff and caregivers.  Tailored to women and gender diverse people and led by mental health practitioners and researchers, participants will access emerging trends, research, learn tools and practices to support their wellbeing.

For more than three years, support workers have been on the frontlines of multiple, connected emergencies – COVID-19, a dramatic increase in reported rates of intimate partner violence, increase in opioid poisonings and a rapidly growing affordability crisis, among others.

During these challenging times, staff and caregivers whether they work directly with service users or in other roles in the nonprofit sector, they are unsung heroes. Their positions, however, have come at a cost to their mental health. Based on studies, many frontline workers, many of whom are women, are increasingly facing burnout, vicarious trauma, and a lack of opportunity to progress and deepen their practice. Staff and caregivers in the nonprofit sector have provided mental health care and a range of supports to participants, service users and their circle of friends and family sometimes without all tools to do so. This has taken a heavy emotional toll on their mental health.

Recognising the critical need to assist the mental health of staff and volunteers across sectors, YWCA Canada partnered with Sun Life’s Bright Women to present the Brighter Days series which will offer workshops on mindfulness, mental health first aid, compassionate mind training, and new trends in mental health and wellbeing.

Mental health experts from within the YWCA movement, academics and mental health practitioners will present the series of five online workshops.

YWCAs across the country are providing mental health support to women and gender diverse people. From individual and group counselling in supportive environments, with the support of facilitators and program workers, women are helped to provide positive directions.


List of workshops and dates:

October 10, 2023, World Mental Health Day 1pm to 2pm EST

Putting the Oxygen Mask on First: A Mindfulness Workshop

Presenter: Almeiri Santos


November 7, 12pm – 1pm EST

Cultivating a Compassionate Mindset

Presenter: Sariné Willis-O’Connor


December 5 2023, 1pm – 2pm EST

Pouring in: Engaging, Listening and Building Connections

How We Can Better Support Our Youth With Their Mental Health

Presenter: Dunia Azzara, Youth Programming Expert


The ripple effect of Brighter Days Series will have a lasting impact on the participants, and going beyond to have a lasting impact on community.

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