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Mental Health Matters: Creating Systemic Change

This initiative is sponsored by York University’s Graduate Student Wellness Services and aims to increase the awareness of the mental health struggles graduate students have been facing, which have been amplified by COVID-19. This workshop will assist in resource development within a peer-based environment for graduate students who are invited to participate in virtual group wellness activities and peer support discussions, with guest lectures by four community mental health professionals. Students can confidentially discuss their experiences of the institutional barriers they have faced while accessing mental health supports and accommodations.

The three-hour virtual workshop will be co-hosted by Kathleen Cherrington, BA (Hons.), MA and PhD student in York University’s Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies program; Tony Black, BA, BSW, RSW and MSW student in York University’s Social Work program; guest lecturer Robb Johannes, BA (Hons.), MA, adjunct lecturer, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto/adjunct lecturer, Faculty of Social Work, York University; and Nancy Guerrero, LL.B, SSW (Hons.), and BSW student in X University’s Social Work program.

Important topics addressed include:

1) Mental health stigma;

2) The COVID-19 impact in amplifying health inequities;

3) Institutional shortcomings for graduate student mental health consumers;

4) Converging issues of race, colonialism, history, and intergenerational trauma and their effects on day-to-day interactions, challenges in allyship; and

5) Mental health concerning race, sexualities, and disabilities.

This initiative will help optimize graduate students’ mental health awareness, support, advocacy, and academic performance.

Three break-out rooms will be facilitated by the hosts. Topics include:

  1. Race; Sexuality; and Mental Wellness
  2. Mental Health Stigma
  3. Systemic Ableism in Pandemic Times

Students will design a model for “mental health allyship” which can be disseminated to campaign towards ending mental health stigma in the academy while building a professional development framework useful for professors and administrators. Using a strengths-based approach, mental health consumers who are also graduate students will have the opportunity to contribute towards meaningful engagement towards social change and reducing institutional structural barriers within academic settings.

If you are interested in attending, please fill out this anonymous pre-registration survey at

To join the Zoom meeting:

Meeting ID: 827 5888 1741

Passcode: 088911

Anonymity and confidentiality will be respected and maintained. The Zoom meeting will not be recorded.



Jan 19 2022


1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Zoom Webinar @ Zoom
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