THE YMCA AND WALK OFF THE EARTH REIMAGINE THE Y.M.C.A. ANTHEM, FOCUSING ON YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH
The musical collaboration introduces expanded access to the YMCA’s free youth mental health program, Y Mind
Greater Vancouver, Kamloops, Northern BC, British Columbia, August 28, 2023 – The YMCA and Canadian indie pop band Walk off the Earth today released a modern take on the Y.M.C.A. anthem to raise awareness of expanded access to the free youth mental health program, Y Mind. Originally released in 1978, the hit song has brought crowds to the dance floor, with an enduring legacy internationally. The reimagined cover of the classic party anthem, performed in a more soulful and sincere tone, brings new light to the original lyrics through a mental health lens as the YMCA aims to highlight today’s need for community and open dialogue surrounding mental health. Alongside the new musical arrangement, Walk off the Earth has also released an accompanying full-length music video now available on YouTube.
“We’ve seen how music is so connected to emotions – for us and our fans – so we were honoured to take on the challenge of reinventing such an iconic song and give new meaning to its enduring lyrics,” says Sarah Blackwood, lead singer of Walk off the Earth. “When we took a look at the original lyrics, it was staggering how a message about the YMCA from 45 years ago is just as relevant and pointed today - but now we’re sharing that message with a focus on mental health tied to Y Mind.”
The collaboration aims to bring awareness to a new era YMCA BC hopes to usher in, as our charity continues to provide a broad range of programming, which includes free mental health services through Y Mind, serving the changing needs of Canadian communities.
Y Mind is an innovative early intervention mental health program that helps teens (ages 13-18) and young adults (ages 18-30) cope with stress and anxiety with the support of health professionals. The seven-week program is available online or in person. Y Mind originally launched as part of an Innovation Fund grant in the Greater Vancouver region in 2016. Since then, the program has expanded to other communities and age groups across British Columbia and, for the last year has been available to youth in communities across Canada! The Y Mind program is offered completely free of charge thanks to support and funding by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The YMCA offers several programs to support mental health under the Y Mind umbrella, including Y Mind Teen, Y Mind Youth, and Mind Medicine.
Y Mind Teen is a free seven-week mental wellness program for teens ages 13 to 18 who are experiencing symptoms of mild-to-moderate anxiety or stress.
Y Mind Youth provides support beyond the teen years, with programming geared to those ages 18 to 30. Participants learn evidence-based skills from trained mental health professionals and build community with peers.
Mind Medicine is a free program using the Y Mind curriculum to address the unique needs of Indigenous youth in Canada. Mind Medicine is delivered through partnerships with Indigenous serving organizations.
“We are proud to offer the Y Mind program here in BC and proud of how much the program has grown since its creation in Vancouver. The number of stressors that today’s youth face can be overwhelming, including the post-pandemic experience, school, and social media pressures. We recognize that cost is often one of the biggest barriers for youth in need of mental wellness programs. Y Mind removes that barrier for youth 13-30 so they can get the help they need for free,” said Heidi Worthington, President & CEO, YMCA BC.
“Mental health is health, and everyone, including Juno Award winners, like Walk off the Earth, are opening up and having conversations about their mental health. The music lets young people know that it’s okay to not be okay and that there is help available through YMCA’s Y Mind program. Our government continues to be very supportive of this initiative,” says The Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health.
The Y Mind program comes at a time when young people’s stress and anxiety levels remain at an all-time high. According to a survey conducted in 2023 by Deloitte, close to half of Gen Zs (46%) and four in 10 Millennials (39%) report feeling stressed or anxious all or most of the time.1 Guided by qualified mental healthcare professionals, participants in the Y Mind program have reported reduced anxiety, improved well-being, and reduced feelings of isolation.
To learn more about the Y Mind program or find a location near you, visit:
- Greater Vancouver: https://www.gv.ymca.ca/mental-wellness
- Northern BC: https://nbc.ymca.ca/youth-services/y-mind/
- Kamloops: https://kamloopsy.org/mental-wellness-programs.htm
About Y Mind
Y Mind was first developed by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver (now YMCA BC) and has been offered across British Columbia since 2018 thanks to financial support from the British Columbia government. Y Mind was born to meet the growing need for free, accessible mental health support. It quickly established itself as a pillar of support for the region’s youth, serving over 3,200 young people in 54 communities. Building on this momentum, the Y Mind program was extended across Canada, including Quebec with YMCA Libère ta tête, through the support of YMCA Canada and YMCA BC. Y Mind has now expanded to 24 YMCAs across the country and is currently being supported though the Public Health Agency of Canada’s investment Supporting the Mental Health of Those Most Affected By COVID-19.
For more information:
Oliver Lamoliver.email@example.comDirector, Marketing and Communications, YMCA BC