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Nurturing the young in

body, mind
& spirit

YMCA is committed to helping young people overcome barriers to accessing quality health education and services to improve their holistic wellbeing in spirit, mind and body.

Every young person has the ability to contribute to improving their own health and the health of the communities in which they live. Through YMCA programmes, young people care for their physical, spiritual and mental health.

  • Over 90 National YMCAs worldwide are working in health-related issues
  • YMCA worldwide runs over 117,000 programmes on health related issues, involving and reaching nearly 16.9 million people (Data: 2018)

Examples of projects

Physical health

  • HIV Positive programme (YMCA England and Wales): fitness programme for people affected by HIV
  • Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) programme (YMCA Africa): Improving young people’s access to SRHR information and services using a holistic approach is a key component of AAYMCAs work on empowering youth for the African Renaissance.

Spiritual health

  • Because I count (YMCA Africa): ‘Because I Count’ is about engaging young people in interfaith dialogue that prevents the effects of religious marginalisation.
  • Week of Prayer: Since 1904, World YMCA and World YWCA have worked together to deliver the World Week of Prayer and World Fellowship.

Mental health

  • Inside our Minds campaign (YMCA Australia): seven young Australians discuss their mental health experiences, personal challenges and how they could reduce the stigma.
  • Mental Health programmes (East Jerusalem YMCA)
    A Rehabilitation and psychosocial support programme – for people with disabilities), for Post Trauma Ex-Detainee Palestinian Children

Refugees and migrants focus

During the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020

  • YMCAs mark World Mental Health Day 2020: In a world disturbed by a global pandemic which has left many people exhausted and anxious, marking World Mental Health Day on 10 October is an important opportunity to acknowledge our emotions and to allow ourselves to seek and find support
  • Resources (YMCA Seattle): Four Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health During Covid-19
  • The YMCA Regional Biosafety Protocol (YMCA Latin America and Caribbean) aims to create a “YMCA standard” that serves the different YMCA movements in the region to take the necessary biosecurity measures at the time of the gradual reopening of facilities

Position paper

Read the World YMCA’s position paper on young people and Health (2018)

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