**Please note that we are no longer available to facilitate workshops, or participate in interviews, panels or other events.***
**Thank you for your interest!**
In addition to our regular program, MONSTER ACADEMY is excited to offer mental health workshops on self-care and intervention strategies to community organizations and private groups in the Montréal area! Our workshops are based on anti-oppression and universal design, and can be tailored to your organization or group’s individual needs. You can book us for one or more of the workshops (workshop descriptions below):
- Monster Soup: Introduction to Mental Health
- Out of the Shadows: Depression & Anxiety
- Tooth and Nail: Suicide Intervention & Related Conversations
- Monstrous Love: Mental Health and Intimate Relationships
- Monster Skin: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Beautiful Monsters: Body Image & Self-Care
- Monster Missions: Community Mental Health Planning
Some community groups that have booked us for workshops include:
- The Sexual Assault Centre of McGill Students’ Society (x)
- The Centre for Gender Advocacy (x)
- Social Equity and Diversity Education McGill (x)
- EUS Equity McGill (x)
- Queer McGill
- The South Asian Women’s Community Centre (x)
- Rock Camp for Girls Montreal (x)
- Venus Envy (Halifax and Ottawa) (x)
Some of our workshop material is also featured in the Girls Action Foundation publication: “From The Ground Up: Community Based Tools To Address Violence And Seek Justice” (x)
Monster Soup: Introduction to Mental Health
Monster Soup is an introduction to radical, anti-oppressive ways of talking about the complicated subject of mental health and illness. Using experiential and discussion-based activities, we open a critical dialogue on what it means to be ‘sane’ and/or ‘crazy’ in contemporary Western culture. We compare and contrast Indigenous, universal design, and medical perspectives on mental health in order to build understanding of the many valid ways that mental health can be understood, while also remembering the harm caused to marginalized groups by oppressive psychiatric practices. Basic skills for seeking and sharing support, as well as self-care round out this workshop on understanding and empowering ourselves to take on the challenges of individual and community mental health.
Out of the Shadows: Depression & Anxiety
This workshop is an exploration of two of the most common ‘mental health monsters’: depression and anxiety. Research and anecdotal evidence tell us that most people will have some experience with depression and/or anxiety symptoms by the end of adolescence. Together, we go through strategies for identifying, understanding, and de-stigmatizing these experiences in ourselves and others, as well as their potential physical and social triggers. We will also practice and discuss relaxation and meditation techniques drawn from the mindfulness tradition, as well as basic active listening and support skills.
Tooth and Nail: Suicide Intervention & Related Conversations
Tooth and Nail invites participants to reflect on the difficult subject of suicide and suicidal ideation. We review some of the common signs that someone is considering ending their life as well as strategies for offering support when people we love are struggling with these thoughts (including the importance of self-care when supporting someone who is suicidal). Together, we analyze and question common narratives of suicide and the impacts of resulting societal stigma. This workshop acknowledges some of the ways in which experiences of systemic oppression and trauma can impact quality of life and desire to live. We celebrate and honour the courage, struggle and brilliant resilience of those fighting to survive.
Monstrous Love: Mental Health and Intimate Relationships
This workshop focuses on intimate relationships of all kinds and the complicated ways they can be affected when those involved struggle with mental health issues. We define and discuss consent as something that is vitally important in all relationships and look at some of the qualities of healthy, consensual relationships. We review some of the common “red flags” of abusive relationship dynamics and strategies for supporting friends who are experiencing abuse. We explore ways of recognizing our own abusive tendencies and behaviours and brainstorm ways to intervene when someone we know is causing harm in their relationships. We approach this workshop with the belief that everyone has the capacity to experience and perpetuate violence and that learning to care for others and nurture healthy, consensual relationships is an ongoing process for all of us.
Monster Skin: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress is one of the most common and least understood experiences in the public understanding of mental health. People from socially and economically marginalized communities are particularly likely to experience trauma as a result of social oppression, while also having reduced access to mental health care. Together, we embark upon an exploration of the following questions: What is trauma? How does it affect individuals and communities? What ”counts” as a traumatic experience? How do we heal from it? Monster Academy uses a perspective of empowerment and self-identification in order to guide participants through a process of understanding trauma as something that individuals can name, define, and work with for themselves. We go over the common symptoms of trauma and basic techniques for supporting someone experiencing PTSD symptoms as well as self-care for support givers.
Beautiful Monsters: Body Image & Self-Care
Beautiful Monsters invites participants to sit with the concept of beauty – looking at who we find beautiful and why, where these ideas come from, who they benefit, who they harm and the ways in which we internalize and reinforce them. We will use art and movement to further explore a range of personal experiences of beauty and monstrosity. From here we visit the concept of “health” and challenge ourselves to define and understand what we mean when we identify behaviours as healthy or unhealthy. We close with a discussion of self-care and coping – sharing some concrete strategies for practicing compassion, self-acceptance and self-love.
Monster Missions: Community Mental Health Planning
How do we go from seeing mental health as an issue of ”individual illness” to understanding it as a community process? How can youth impact mental health issues on a community level? Do you need to be a doctor or a psychologist to start a community mental health project? In this workshop, Monster Academy opens an encouraging, safer space for participants to discuss their own experiences and ideas. We brainstorm ways in which youth and community members can formally or informally address local social issues (in schools, neighbourhoods, community centres, etc), and discuss the common challenges and ethical concerns that come up in grassroots organizing. The Monster Academy facilitators will also answer questions about our own current and future projects, our fundraising process, and personal experiences working in our respective communities. Our goal is to spark innovation and fuel the fire: to strengthen participants’ feeling of self-direction and support each other in making a difference for the people we love, where we live.
Don’t see what you’re looking for here? Contact us with a suggestion!
We charge a sliding-scale fee (based on your financial capacity) for our workshops in order to pay facilitators for their time, and to raise money to offer our regular program to youth for free.
To book a workshop, or for more info, contact us at: email@example.com