‘We are truly stronger together’: Free mental health arts week for Winnipeg youth
Posted November 18, 2023 5:44 pm.
Last Updated November 19, 2023 10:09 am.
Classes that blend arts with mental health care are being offered to young people in Winnipeg for an entire week.
Winnipeg’s Meraki Theatre and the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba (MDAM) are hosting “Stronger Together” classes beginning Saturday at the Franco Manitoban Cultural Centre.
“It is a completely free mental health arts week that combines both mental health strategies and resources provided by (the MDAM) alongside of daily arts programming,” said Kennedy Huckerby, Meraki Theatre’s associate artistic director.
“It is extremely important not only to me, but Meraki Theatre as an organization, because with this free mental health arts week, we are continuing reducing the stigma of mental illness and ensuring our students and the people that we work with are not alone, because they aren’t.”
Huckerby hopes participants take away skills that will help them in the future.
“For our workshops, we are hoping to encompass our values of the mental health arts week, which is including self-love, compassion, community, and creativity with our students that enjoy these workshops while also providing them mental health resources, and strategies for anyone who might be struggling,” said Huckerby.
The team at Meraki Theatre dedicated “Stronger Together” to Winnipeg artist Amélie Barreto-Labossiere, who passed away in 2021.
Milo Vantichlen, a volunteer helping out with the classes, wants all young people to have access to workshops like these.
“It’s a place we have a good time. You feel the best, so I really hope that this can grow and grow and become very popular,” he said. “Because I hope that everybody can have the same feeling as me.
“We are truly stronger together.”
Vantichlen considers instructors at Meraki Theatre – the Winnipeg-based independent theatre company – among the best around.
“Everybody should be coming here because this is the best,” he said. “I’m so lucky to be here and I really hope that everybody can come here.”
Huckerby says all those between the ages of seven and 18 are welcome to join the week’s programming, which has been designed to be as barrier-free as possible.
Classes run until Nov. 24.
—With files from Nick Johnston