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The YMCAs of Québec launch a free mental health support program for teens and young adults

YMCAs of Québec - June 22 2023

Montréal, June 22 2023

The YMCAs of Québec is proud to announce the implementation of the Y Mind program, an innovative early intervention mental health program that helps teens (ages 13-18) and young adults (ages 18-30) better manage their stress and anxiety with the support of health professionals. This seven-week program designed to support young people across Quebec is now available online or in person, in both French (YMCA Libère ta tête) and English (Y Mind). Not only does the program have a proven track record in Western Canada, but it is also offered completely free of charge thanks to the support and funding by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

"At The YMCAs of Québec, we take the health, development and success of young people to heart in every respect, and are very grateful for the confidence the Public Health Agency of Canada has shown in us by awarding us this crucial mandate," said Stéphane Vaillancourt, President and CEO of The YMCAs of Québec. While there have been significant collective advances in mental health, both in terms of destigmatization and the provision of care, there are still many stumbling blocks, especially regarding people’s financial ability to afford adequate care. Being able to offer the YMCA Y Mind program free of charge across Quebec meets a real collective need.

The Y Mind program comes at a time when young people’s mental health is at the heart of community and medical authorities’ concerns. According to a survey conducted in 2020-2021 by the Institut de la statistique du Québec , approximately 39% of the population is experiencing a high level of psychological distress, a significantly higher percentage than in 2014-2015 (32%). This increase can be seen in both women and men, across all age groups.

“Today’s teens and young adults face a number of stressors, such as the post-pandemic experience, eco-anxiety, school issues and the harmful predominance of social media. ," stated Nicolas Greenfield, Director, National Program Development, The YMCAs of Québec. As isolation and day-to-day difficulties due to anxiety can have a major impact on quality of life, this program addresses the situation by offering young people the opportunity to develop solid skills to better manage their feelings on a daily basis. Thanks to this program, participants have reported reduced anxiety, improved well-being and reduced feelings of isolation.

The YMCAs of Québec is determined to provide valuable support to teens and young adults by supporting them, with the help of health professionals, in an inclusive and caring environment in order to equip and enable them to better manage their feelings on a daily basis. Furthermore, participants report reduced anxiety, improved well-being and a greater sense of well-being.

“It is essential that we increase the resources and remove the barriers to mental health supports for young people, especially those in underserved communities who have been disproportionately facing the negative impacts of the pandemic,” remarks The Honourable, Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health. “By enabling the extension of this program to Quebec and across Canada, more young people will know that it's okay to not be okay, and that through these programs, more supports will be available.”

Y Mind is a free mental wellness program for people aged 13 to 30 who are experiencing symptoms of mild-to-moderate anxiety or stress. For seven weeks, participants are guided by qualified mental healthcare professionals who teach them strategies rooted in mindfulness and in the acceptance of and commitment to therapy. During the information meeting preceding the start of each session, participants receive both a workbook and a guidebook to help them follow the program, complete group assignments and learn proven techniques to develop effective emotional management skills. The program also gives young people the opportunity to make friends with like-minded peers and create a strong support network.

If you are interested in a Y Mind program near you, please complete this online form. YMCAs of Québec staff members will then contact you to provide more information and guide you through the registration process.

Y Mind

Y Mind was first developed by YMCA BC and has been offered in British Columbia since 2018 thanks to financial support from the British Columbia government. Y Mind (now YMCA Libère ta tête in French) was born to meet the growing need for free, accessible mental health support. It quickly established itself as a pillar of support for the region’s youth, serving over 3,200 young people in 54 communities. Building on this momentum, the Y Mind program was extended across Canada, including Quebec, with the support of YMCA Canada and YMCA BC. Y Mind has now expanded to 21 YMCAs across the country and is currently being supported though the Public Health Agency of Canada’s investment Supporting the Mental Health of Those Most Affected By COVID-19.

About the YMCAs of Québec

The YMCAs of Québec is a unique charity organization that has been operational for more than 170 years. Its mission is to inspire and engage every individual to realize their potential and contribute to their community. In addition to operating The YMCA International Language School, The YMCA Residence and YMCA Kanawana Camp, The YMCAs of Québec offers virtual and face-to-face programs in over sixty centres, Y Spaces and points of service across the province and internationally.

Media contact:
Isabelle Huiban
Integrated Communications Director
The YMCAs of Québec
514 222-4307
isabelle.huiban@ymcaquebec.org

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