YMCAs mark World Mental Health Day 2020

Date: 05 October 2020

“How are you doing?”

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.

Many people, especially young people, have lost their jobs and maybe their hopes. Their education has been badly affected; their social lives – simple fun and friendship – have been all but stopped.  As an international movement, how does YMCA support its  young people? By opening safe spaces for them to express themselves, by providing tools to make them feel empowered again, and by trusting in their courage and their resilience, even when sometimes they themselves don’t feel like them.

“This World Mental Health Day signals our continued YMCA commitment to make a truly global impact on young people’s mental health” says Carlos Sanvee, Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs. I am proud of all the work that all our YMCAs worldwide are doing to support young women and men’s mental wellbeing.”

What are we doing now, as we address the great question of ‘how we are doing’? Here are some of the ways we are working on our mental health.

Y Reimagine Labs project

World YMCA is launching a YMCA Community of Impact on mental health, drawing together everything YMCAs are doing in individual countries all over the world, to make it available to all. This Community of Impact is led by YMCA Australia. As part of this process, the Y “Reimagine Lab” will run over 7 weeks from 20 October to 10 December, involving over 40 inter-generational leaders from around the country.

This initiative will help redesign the organisation’s future through a once-in-a-generation opportunity brought about by the global Coronavirus pandemic and its impacts. It aims to design the next generation of YMCA projects addressing Youth Mental wellness.


9 October: Join the virtual March for Mental Health

On 9 October, we have called on people around the world to #MoveforMentalHealth and to participate in the world’s first 24-hour virtual March for Mental Health.  It’s all on Facebook, and it started in Tonga at 00:00 BST and ended with US at 22:00 BST.  For this event, World YMCA is partnering with United for Global Mental Health, WHO, Speak your Mind and The World Federation for Mental Health.

5 – 10 October: Mental Health Week in Latin America

The YMCA Latin America and Caribbean launch their annual YMCA Mental Health Week (website in Spanish) from 5 to 10 October. The 2020 theme “Let’s talk about mental health! Wellbeing for all” will focus on promoting healthy lifestyle habits that contribute to the physical, emotional, spiritual, social and mental wellbeing of young people. The programmes and activities will highlight different experiences of young people, specialists and experts from various countries in the region.

Short movies released for Mental Health Week in Australia

Mental Health Week aims to spread the word about positive mental wellbeing and promote seeking support if young people need help. Australian YMCA Change Agent Martin Johnson sat down with seven young Australians to discuss their mental health experiences, personal challenges and how they could reduce the stigma. ‘Inside Our Minds’, a series of short films, was launched to let other young people know that they aren’t alone, and that there is help out there for them.






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