Government of Canada invests nearly $7 million in youth mental health

Funding supports expansion of YMCA mental wellness programs

TORONTO, Jan. 10, 2023 /CNW/ – Young people have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Social isolation, difficulties with virtual learning, job insecurity and financial hardship have worsened their mental health and well-being.

Today, the Honorable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, and the Honorable Marci Ien, Minister of Status of Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced nearly $7 million in funding to the YMCA of Canada. This funding will support the scaling up and expansion of the YMCA Clear Your Head and Mind Medicine early intervention programs, which are evidence-based and youth-focused across Canada.

The programs are aimed at young people between the ages of 13 and 30 suffering from anxiety or mild to moderate depression and aim to support the acquisition of effective coping skills and the improvement of the general well-being of the participants. In the YMCA Free Your Mind program, youth learn evidence-based skills and connect with peers and experienced experts. The “Mind Medicine” program, an adapted version of “YMCA Free your head”, was designed specifically for Aboriginal youth and will be implemented with in partnership with organizations and communities providing services to Aboriginal people.

This announcement is part of a $100 million investment in Budget 2021 to support projects to promote mental health and prevent mental illness among populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19.


“It is essential to increase resources and remove barriers to mental health support for young people in Canada, especially those in underserved communities who have disproportionately faced the negative effects of the pandemic. Today’s funding for the YMCA will help young people across Canada know that it’s okay to not always feel well, and that through these evidence-based, youth-focused programs, more support will be available. »

The Honorable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“The pandemic has been an extremely difficult time for all Canadians, but our young people have been disproportionately affected, and many of them are still struggling with their mental health and well-being. For years, the YMCA of Toronto and other centers across Canada have worked tirelessly to improve mental health support for youth and members of marginalized communities. The funding announced today will allow more young people who suffer from anxiety and depression to have access to the tools they need and deserve. We will continue to support our young people because it is simply the right thing to do. »

The Honorable Marci Ien
Minister of Status of Women and Gender Equality and Youth, and Member of Parliament for Toronto Center

“The link between mental well-being and general well-being is clear. We thank the Public Health Agency of Canada for this funding which will help us expand access to our minimally restrictive and inclusive Y Mind and Mind Medicine programs. The funding will improve the lives of thousands of teens and young adults in Canada who are struggling with their mental well-being. »

Peter Dinsdale
President and CEO, YMCA Canada

Quick Facts

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

• The YMCA Clear Your Mind program was developed by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver (now YMCA BC) to address the need for free and accessible mental health support. This is an innovative early intervention program that helps teens and young adults manage stress and anxiety by taking their needs into account. The program helps young people deal with anxiety and improve their sense of well-being.

• Over the next year, the YMCA will partner with at least seven Aboriginal serving organizations to deliver the program.

• More details on the YMCA Free Your Mind program can be found at, including an online form to learn more about program options available in your area.

• Funding will be awarded to 20 YMCA associations in nine provinces.

• Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention are essential elements of well-being and can help reduce pressure on the health care system. Community-based mental health promotion projects have the potential to improve health outcomes across the lifespan.

• Renison University College at the University of Waterloo offers a Knowledge Development and Exchange Hub for Mental Health Promotion (CED Hub) to support projects funded through this investment and to help to build a community with common interests in optimizing mental health promotion and mental illness prevention in Canada.

• The Wellness Together Canada Portal provides free access to educational content, self-guided therapies, peer support and one-on-one counseling with qualified healthcare professionals. If you or someone close to you is having difficulty, you can access the Wellness Together Canada portal, call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth).

• Kids Help Phone is also available 24/7 through online mental health services that provide free and confidential support to young people in French and English.

Health Index publication: 2023-01-10 – Number of visits since publication: 7244

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