World Mental Health Day: YMCAs worldwide raise awareness, provide support

Date: 10 October 2023

On World Mental Health Day – 10 October 2023, YMCAs worldwide are using the opportunity to spotlight their programmes and services addressing mental wellbeing. Addressing mental health at the local and national YMCA level is crucial because it promotes overall health and wellbeing and helps individuals and communities thrive. And it’s all part of YMCA Vision 2030 and Community Wellbeing, where we work to make communities healthier and more robust. 

Here is a look at how just a few YMCAs are working to improve mental health for children, young people, adults and communities: 

YMCA Sweden (KFUM Sverige)

Two years ago, the KFUM Central project Feel Best began. It aims to raise the issue of mental health through a knowledge bank, education and tools for young people, leaders and parents. As the YMCA said, we must all “put mental health on the agenda”.  

YMCA England & Wales

The YMCA embraced this year’s theme: Mental health is a universal human right.

The goal is to raise awareness, initiate positive change, and ignite essential conversations about mental wellbeing, reminding everyone: “You are not alone”. 

The Gambia YMCA

The YMCA stressed: “Your mental health is a priority. Your happiness is essential”.  Noting that some scars are invisible, the staff encourage reaching out to someone who may need it. 

YMCA of Singapore

They promoted the value of self-care, sharing things that make us happy: snacks, toys, a journal and more. 

YMCA of Espana

The YMCA provided ideas on ‘what to do when you don’t feel like doing anything’ or feel 100 per cent, as well as the reminder that mental health includes self-esteem. 

YMCA Medellin

When it comes to mental health, many of the myths are not rooted in reality, the YMCA said. For example, it is not true that young people do not struggle with mental health. Its goal this year is to break the ‘taboo’ around mental wellbeing and dispel myths.


The Greater Somerset County YMCA in New Jersey, USA, also encouraged self-care, saying how important it is to “do something that brings you joy”. 

YMCA (ACM) Sao Paulo

On this day of “extreme importance”, the YMCA encouraged everyone to reflect on their mental health and that of their loved ones – and not be afraid to seek support when needed.

Y NSW (Australia)

The Y shared youth worker Cathy’s top tips on supporting young people’s mental health. Those included reminding them their friend’s life and health are more important than confidentiality and using the “clock” method to recognise support systems and services. Who could they turn to at 6 a.m., midday, evening and midnight?

Metropolitan YMCA of Singapore

The YMCA recently launched its premiere episode of #goodtalk, where they delved into anxiety with a clinical psychologist with expertise in personality disorders, complex trauma, anxiety, and mood issues.

YMCA Ireland

YMCAs nationwide hosted ‘Tea & Talk’ events for staff and volunteers and across their family, youth and community work. The goal is to break the stigma around caring for one’s mental health. 

YMCA Canada 

Its Y Minds is a free early intervention mental health programme for young people; it was recently widely promoted with the reimagined “Y.M.C.A” anthem from Walk Off The Earth. YMCA Canada noted that over 1 million children and youth in Canada are impacted by mental health problems, yet less than 20 per cent have access to appropriate treatment.