On March 18th, 2023, UforChange held a Fashion & Mental Health Workshop for Students and Alumni. The workshop was hosted at the UforChange Studio by Malgosia Wenderski, Mental Health Counsellor Intern. Uforchange worked in partnership with Redbird Therapy to pilot mental health support for the youth. 

Some Mental Health Stats

By 2030, mental health disorders are predicted by the World Health Organization to become the primary cause of disability worldwide. In a given year, one in five Canadians, including students, experience mental health issues. The onset of 70% of mental health problems occurs during childhood or adolescence. Despite an estimated 1.2 million children and youth being affected by mental illness, fewer than 20% receive suitable treatment. 

Why Youth Need Mental Health Counselling

Mental health challenges can impact students and many live their daily lives with mental illness. To help students learn, grow, and adapt despite obstacles or needs, it is essential to raise awareness, promote sensitivity, and offer guidance.

Good mental health is crucial for effective learning. Facing challenges and unresolved mental strain in life can affect the youths’ self-esteem, confidence, mood, concentration, and relationships with others. These concerns may be temporary or long-lasting but should never be ignored.

Fashion & Mental Health Workshop for Toronto Creative arts program Youth at UforChange Movement
The Fashion & Mental Health Workshop

How Counselling Helps

Mental health counseling can benefit youth in many ways. It can help them manage their emotions during the rapid changes and transitions of life, develop healthy coping strategies, and deal with stress effectively. 

Counseling can also assist with processing traumatic experiences, building self-esteem and confidence, and providing a safe space to discuss mental health concerns. By receiving appropriate support and treatment, young people can improve their overall mental wellbeing, develop resilience, and achieve their full potential.

How UforChange Steps up for the Youth

UforChange specializes in offering creative art programs to socially isolated youth who are faced with various obstacles in society. Our programs are designed to inspire and elevate young people aged 16-29 by giving them the necessary tools and resources to enhance their artistic and technical abilities. Our aim is to empower and uplift these individuals to reach their full potential.

We were honored to have with us Mental Health Counselling interns – Malgosia Wenderski and Justin Tome, our Social Work Intern. Both Malgosia and Justin have provided immense support to the youth through 1:1 discussions that made a recognizable difference in the youth’s performance in class.

Workshop in progress

The Fashion & Mental Health Workshop

The Fashion & Mental Health workshop was launched in Mid-March, providing our students and alumni, an afternoon of inspiration and creativity before Spring came to bloom. 

It included a calming meditation, a creative hour with a vision board activity, and a talk on fashion and mental health.

All of the participants discovered a new tool that can empower and inspire them –  fashion.

Everyone started to imagine items from their wardrobe, exploring the rich meaning and impact of a favorite garment or accessory on their identity, mood, and/or day.

It was an impactful time of brainstorming, artistry, and community.

Youth Vision board activity in progress - Fashion & Mental Health Workshop
Vision Board Activity in progress

The Counsellor’s Thoughts

Mental Health workshops bring with them a plethora of learning for the students. They get to dive deep into themselves and bring out their inner thoughts and feelings packed away in corners. The outcome of the Fashion and Mental Health workshop at UforChange helped us realize how performances soar when the youth are provided with tools to tackle the persistent underlying challenges. 

The workshop was a buzz, filled with smiling faces eager to learn more about fashion and mental health. Curiosity was twofold, how could fashion possibly effect mental health, and two, how can I apply that to my life? My talk on research and my thesis was a foundation for a deep discussion on what fashion meant to participants, and how they unknowingly liked fashion for it’s ability to enhance their mood and positive emotions. We explored ways they can be more creative with their fashion, incorporating their personality and personal meaning to amplify the positive effects clothing can have. Facilitating this workshop was an impactful experience as participants felt empowered by the topic, had an opportunity to connect with other youth, express themselves, and learned another coping tool for mental wellness. I believe that mental health workshops like these are imperative for youth to grow in confidence, and bolster their ability to manage their mental health.

- Malgosia Wenderski, RedBird Therapy, Mental Health Counsellor Intern for UforChange

Student Feedback

The Fashion & Mental Health Workshop was conducted with the goal to help the youth tie the impact of fashion on mental health. It was done to help them understand themselves with clarity and depth. The success of a workshop depends on the impact it has on the attendees. The youth participated in a feedback survey at the end of the workshop. 

It delights us to know that the workshop gave them the guidance and solutions that they were looking for. We’re so glad to know that they found it interesting, inspiring, and motivating and that the meditation was relaxing. They were able to understand how fashion impacts moods and identity. The mood board activity further boosted their confidence and creativity.

The Results

The piloting of counseling at UforChange clearly has proven to be positive overall. The outcomes specifically for the UforChange AnnKM Fashion Program are incredible. We’re getting to watch the students bloom and perform better. 

Attendance has gone up and the youth feel ignited to learn with each lesson. The final projects are starting to be completed ahead of time, with greater complexities, and significantly more pride. 

Ivy - Youth of UforChange AnnKM Fashion Program - UforChange
UforChange AnnKM Fashion Program Student - Ivy with her designed dress


The fashion and mental health workshop was an inspiring and valuable experience for the young people in our creative arts programs. Through this workshop, youth were able to learn new fashion skills while also developing tools to manage their mental health and well-being.

The feedback we received from participants was overwhelmingly positive, and we are proud to have been a part of this transformative experience. We’re also truly thankful to our mental health counselor Malgosia for organizing and conducting this incredible workshop.

We believe that programs like this can have a significant impact on the lives of young people, and we look forward to continuing to offer innovative and empowering opportunities for our youth.

If you’re inspired by our efforts and want to be a part of this change, please consider donating to our organization. Your contribution will help fund more mental health programs for youth and create a positive impact on their lives.