Government & Policy
$7 million to expand mental health for youths
January 11, 2023
OTTAWA – The government of Canada announced nearly $7 million in funding to enable YMCA Canada to scale up and expand the “Y Mind” and “Mind Medicine” mental health programs for youths across Canada. The programs are intended for young people aged 13-30 years of age who are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression and aim to support the development of effective coping skills and improvements to participants’ overall well-being.
“It is essential that we increase the resources and remove the barriers to mental health supports for young people in Canada, especially those in underserved communities who have been disproportionately facing the negative impacts of the pandemic,” said Carolyn Bennett (pictured), minister of mental health and addictions.
“Today’s funding to the YMCA will help young people across Canada know that it’s okay to not be okay, and that through these evidence-based, youth-informed programs, more supports will be available.”
Y Mind introduces them to evidence-based tools and connects them with peers and experienced professionals. Mind Medicine, an adapted version of Y Mind, has been developed specifically for Indigenous young people, and will be implemented in partnership with Indigenous-serving organizations and communities.
This announcement is part of a $100 million investment provided in Budget 2021 to support projects that promote mental health and prevent mental illness in populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The link between mental wellness and overall well-being is clear. We are grateful for the support from the Public Health Agency of Canada to help us expand access to our low-barrier and inclusive Y Mind and Mind Medicine programs,” said Peter Dinsdale, president and CEO of YMCA Canada. “This funding will improve the lives of thousands of teens and young adults across Canada who are struggling with their mental wellness.”
Y Mind was developed by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver (now YMCA BC) in response to a need for free and accessible mental wellness support. It is an innovative, youth informed, early intervention program that helps teens and young adults manage stress and anxiety.
The YMCA will partner with at least seven Indigenous serving organizations over the next year to deliver the program.
More information about Y Mind can be found at ymca.ca/ymind, including an inquiry form to learn more about Y Mind options in your area. Funding will be provided to 20 YMCA Associations in nine provinces.
Renison University College, at the University of Waterloo, is hosting a Knowledge Development and Exchange Hub for Mental Health Promotion (KDE Hub) to support the projects funded through this investment, helping to build a community with shared interests in optimizing mental health promotion and mental illness prevention across Canada.
The Wellness Together Canada portal provides free access to educational content, self-guided therapy, moderated peer-to-peer support, and one-to-one counselling with qualified health professionals. If you or a loved one is struggling, you can access the Wellness Together Canada portal, or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth).
Kids Help Phone is also available 24/7 with e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to young people in English and French.