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School Mental Health Summit: Emerging Stronger and More Resilient: Learning From the COVID-19 Crisis
Taking Off the Mask: Showing Up as Your Authentic Self | School Mental Health Summit Day 1, Session 4
September 2, 2021

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UnMASKing Healthy Relationships is a highly experiential workshop that creates a safe space for individuals and teams to engage in an uncommonly open, honest dialogue. Studies show the lack of mental health services for many communities is based on the long-standing stigma of being associated with having any Mental Health Challenges. Fear of being associated will cause people to forego support in order to protect a mask of I’m Fine, I’m Good, or I’m OK.

Our work in Ever Forward recognizes that each person has a set of shared human needs – for support, expression, recognition, meaning, and connection. By closing the gap between who we are on the inside and who we show up as at work, school, and life we create more meaningful connections, healthier communication, deeper engagement – and ultimately more powerful results.

Through presentation, hands-on activities, and film this workshop will introduce participants to the world of wellness support groups through our work with young men. Far too often urban youth have to navigate the complex world of school, home, and the streets by themselves. Issues like fitting in, self-esteem, trauma, loss, body image, and the pressures of life often keep youth from realizing their full potential inside and outside of school.

This workshop will empower participants to create more inclusive spaces at work and in their personal lives.



Ashanti Branch, M.Ed.