An early intervention mental wellness program aimed at decreasing the barriers teens and youth face when trying to access mental health supports, is coming back to Simcoe County this month. In partnership with Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, the YMCA provides this seven-week program for youth ages 18-30, as well as newly added program sessions for teens ages 13-18. These programs offer free mental health services and mental wellness programming in a non-stigmatizing community setting. No medical referral is required.
The program has a virtual option, so youth and teens in Muskoka can participate.
The goal of the Y Mind program is to help young people experiencing mild to moderate anxiety learn effective skills to improve their mental health, says CEO Jill Tettmann of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.
“The pandemic has increased rates of anxiety amongst our young people. Increasing accessibility to mental health support, through Y Mind, is vital to the wellbeing of our communities,” says Tettmann. “We are pleased to be able to extend access to teens ages 13 to 18 to help support even more young people that are struggling,” added Tettmann.
“We’re breaking down barriers to mental health support by offering this program free, without a diagnosis or referral, so teens and youth can get the help they need. We’ve seen positive feedback from our participants in the first session of the Y Mind program in April 2022, and I’m looking forward to seeing the impacts these programs will have on more teens, youth, and families.” says Janette McGee, General Manager of Youth Services at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.
The programs are designed to close existing service gaps and help teens and youth thrive, including accessing the mental health benefits of exercise through a complimentary two-month YMCA Fitness Membership. Over the course of seven weeks, two mental health practitioners will co-facilitate closed groups of 10-12 people. 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 teens and 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 Y Mind Teen program (ages 13-18) offers two seven-week sessions starting on:
Monday, November 7th, 2022, from 3:30-5:00pm
Tuesday, November 8th, 2022, from 3:30-5:00pm.
The Y Mind Youth program (ages 18-30) is offering two seven-week sessions starting on:
Wednesday, November 9th, 2022, from 1:30-4:00pm
Thursday, November 10th, 2022, from 2:00-4:30pm
Limited spaces for these online sessions are still available. To learn more or register, call or text 705-718-0097 or email [email protected].
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.
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 Teen and Y Mind Youth will complement the YMCA’s current suite of social services and increase access to mental health support. If you are interested in becoming a partner organization to facilitate the Y Mind program, please contact Sarah Stea, Y Mind Hub Manager, at 705-791-0359 or email [email protected].
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