Free mental health program for youth launched by YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka

Y Mind is a seven-week program for youth experiencing mild to moderate anxiety and depression

News release – from YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka

A new early intervention mental health program aimed at decreasing the barriers youth face when trying to access mental health supports, is coming to Simcoe County next month. In partnership with Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, the YMCA will provide this seven-week program, for youth ages 18-30, which gives timely access to support networks, mental health services, and mental wellness programming in a non-stigmatizing community setting at no cost. No medical referral is required.

The goal of Y Mind, says YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka CEO Jill Tettmann, is to engage young people experiencing mild to moderate anxiety and depression with early intervention, to help them learn effective skills to improve their mental health.

“The pandemic has increased rates of anxiety and depression amongst our young people. Increasing accessibility to mental health support, through Y Mind, is vital to the wellbeing of our communities.” says Tettmann.

“By providing this program at no cost and without requiring a diagnosis or medical referral, Y Mind will break down barriers to mental health support and help youth access the support they need in a timely way. I’m looking forward to seeing the many positive impacts this program will have on individual youth and families.” says Janette McGee, General Manager of Youth Services at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. 

The program is designed to help close existing service gaps and help youth access the tools they need to thrive, including the mental health benefits of physical activity through a complimentary, two-month YMCA Fitness Membership. It will be co-facilitated by two mental health practitioners that will lead closed groups of 10-12 participants over the course of seven weeks. The group sessions will teach participants how to improve their mental health using evidenced-based tools and strategies grounded in mindfulness and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). Sessions will also include fun activities to demonstrate ACT and mindfulness strategies as well as take-home resources to help participants cope with stress and anxiety between weekly group sessions.

“Y Mind will be a safe and welcoming place for the youth in our communities to connect with others who have similar experiences and learn new ways to improve their mental health. I’m grateful for this unique opportunity to bring greater support to youth and am looking forward to helping improve their holistic wellbeing.” says Amanda Fellows, Program Manager, Community Development at Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County. 

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka Youth Services department has been delivering youth counselling and support programs to young people ages 12-30 years old since 2007. Y Mind will complement the YMCA’s current suite of social services and increase access to mental health support.

The first Y Mind Youth program begins Tuesday,, May 3rd, 2022, from 1:30-4:00pm. Limited spaces for these online sessions are still available. Participants will receive a $25 gift card, a copy of the book “The Happiness Trap”, a two-month complimentary YMCA Fitness Membership and access to technology to complete the program, if needed. To learn more or register, call or text 705-790-2338 or email YouthCall@cfssc.ca.

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