Government of Canada investing nearly $7 million for young people’s mental health

News release

Funding supports the expansion of YMCA mental wellness programs

January 10, 2023 | Toronto, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

Young people have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with social isolation, virtual learning challenges, job insecurity, and financial hardship worsening their mental health and well-being.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, and the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced nearly $7 million in funding to YMCA Canada. The funding will support the scaling up and expansion of the “Y Mind” and “Mind Medicine” evidence-based, youth-informed, early intervention programs 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. 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.

Quotes

“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. 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.”

The Honourable, Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health

“The pandemic was an extremely tough time for all Canadians, but our young people were disproportionally impacted, and many are still struggling with their mental health and wellness. For years, the YMCA in Toronto and across Canada have worked tirelessly to improve mental health supports for youth and marginalized communities. Today's funding will help more youth who experience anxiety and depression access the tools they need and deserve. We will continue support our young people because it is simply the right thing to do.”

The Honourable Marci Ien
Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, and Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre

"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. This funding will improve the lives of thousands of teens and young adults across Canada who are struggling with their mental wellness.”

Peter Dinsdale
President & CEO, YMCA Canada

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the mental health of people in Canada through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

  • 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

  • Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention are critical components for wellbeing and can help reduce demands on the health care system. Community-based projects focussed on mental health promotion have the potential to improve health outcomes over the life course.

  • 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.

Associated links

Contacts

Maja Staka
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, Carolyn Bennett
343-552-5568

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709

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