Women, anti-violence advocates, researchers and workers in the mental wellness and substance use sectors have been increasingly calling attention to the connections between violence, mental wellness and substance use. Yet, services in the violence against women, mental wellness and substance use sectors are not always responsive to these connections. Women who use substances and/or experience varying levels of mental wellness are often required to seek support from multiple service agencies that offer support around one area of concern, even though women report that their experiences of violence, mental wellness and substance use are deeply interconnected.

This course is designed to support anti-violence workers in understanding the connections between violence, substance use and mental wellness, to explore and unpack common beliefs and assumptions about women who use substances and/or experience varying levels of mental wellness, and to share best practices and tools for reducing barriers to all women seeking safety from violence. 

This course is an online, extended version of BCSTH’s Reducing Barriers training, and is recommended for those who have not taken Reducing Barriers before, those for whom online access is more convenient, as well as those who have taken Reducing Barriers and would like a refresh and deeper dive into the topic. 


Pre-requisite: Foundations in Violence Against Women v2.0


Full member fee: $60.00 CDN

Associate member fee: $90.00 CDN

 Non-member fee: $125.00 CDN

Course curriculum

  • 2

    Unit 1: Making Connections between Violence, Substance Use and Mental Wellness

    • Learning Objectives

    • Connecting Violence, Mental Wellness and Substance Abuse

      FREE PREVIEW
    • Mental Wellness and Violence Against Women

    • Barriers to Support For Women Experiencing Varying Levels of Mental Wellness

    • Substance Use and Violence Against Women

    • Barriers to Support for Women Who Use Substances

    • Video: For Her Own Good (OAITH)

    • Unit 1: Review

    • Unit 1: Reflection

  • 3

    Unit 2: What Guides Our Work: Promising Principles

    • Learning Objectives

    • What Guides our Work: Promising Principles

    • Women-Centred

    • Relational

    • Anti-Oppressive

    • Anti-Oppressive (Continued)

    • Anti-Oppressive (Continued)

    • Harm Reduction

    • Holistic and Integrated

    • Responsive

    • Unit 2: Review

    • Unit 2: Reflection

  • 4

    Unit 3: Trauma- and Violence-Informed Approaches

    • Learning Objectives

    • What is Trauma?

    • Trauma- and Violence-Informed Approaches

    • Responses to Trauma

    • Neurobiological Impacts of Trauma

    • Trauma and Resilience

    • Considerations for Trauma and Violence-Informed Work

    • Considerations for Trauma and Violence-Informed Work (Continued)

    • Unit 3: Review

    • Unit 3: Reflection

  • 5

    Unit 4: Supporting Women with Varying Levels of Mental Wellness

    • Learning Objectives

    • The Mental Wellness Continuum

    • Diagnosis and Labelling

    • Starting the Conversation

    • Responding to Disclosures

    • Supporting Women Experiencing Anxiety

    • Supporting Women Experiencing Depression

    • Supporting Women Experiencing Psychosis

    • Supporting Women Who Self-Injure

    • Supporting Women Experiencing Suicidal Thoughts

    • Wellness Check-in

      FREE PREVIEW
    • Unit 4: Review

    • Unit 4: Reflection

  • 6

    Unit 5: Supporting Women Who Use Substances

    • Learning Objectives

    • The Spectrum of Substance Use

    • Video: Safe for All (OAITH)

    • Talking to Women About Substance Use

    • Supporting Women Who are Intoxicated

    • Supporting Women with Safer Substance Use

    • Supporting Mothers Who Use Substances

    • Strategies for Safety in Transition Housing Programs

    • Strategies for Safety in Transition Housing Programs (Continued)

    • Additional Resources

    • Unit 5: Review

    • Unit 5: Reflection

  • 7

    Unit 6: Supporting Ourselves and Each Other

    • Learning Objectives

    • When We are Feeling Frustrated

    • Vicarious Trauma and Resilience

    • Centering Connection and Clients in Worker Burnout (Vikki Reynolds)

    • Debriefing

    • Caring for Ourselves and Each Other

    • Hell Yeah Self Care (Meg-John Barker)

    • Unit 6: Review

    • Unit 6: Reflection

  • 8

    Unit 7: Addressing Barriers and Reducing Harms

    • Learning Objectives

    • Let's Talk About Safety

    • Reviewing Policy and Practice

    • Sample Policies (Reducing Barriers Toolkit)

    • Program Rules

    • Abusive Power and Control within the Domestic Violence Shelter

    • Looking Ahead

    • Unit 7: Review

    • Unit 7: Reflection

  • 9

    Course Feedback

    • Course Feedback