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B.C. funding $3M toward YMCA mental health program in 30 communities

Y Mind is aimed at teaching people strategies to cope with stress and anxiety
Mental Health Minister Jennifer Whiteside speaking in Surrey May 5, 2023. Whiteside announced the province would be funding $3 million over the next three years toward the YMCA B.C.’s Y Mind and Mind Medicine programs for people aged 13 to 30 to learn strategies to cope with stress and anxiety (Photo: Anna Burns)

B.C.’s Mental Health Minister has announced funding for the next three years toward a mental wellness training program offered through the YMCA.

Jennifer Whiteside was at a Downtown Vancouver YMCA Tuesday (Sept. 5) to announce the $3 million over three years for the YMCA’s Y Mind and Mind Medicine programs in 30 communities across B.C. Y Mind is a free, seven-week program that teaches teens and young adults strategies to cope with stress and anxiety, while Mind Medicine helps Indigenous-serving organizations deliver Y Mind in a culturally responsive way by incorporating local stories and cultural practices.

“Young people have faced unprecedented challenges over the past few years, and many are struggling with stress and anxiety,” said Whiteside.

The programs are led by trained mental-health professionals and delivered in a supportive environment. It’s free and referrals are not required.

“As a Y Mind facilitator, it’s amazing to see the power of group connection. Participants have shared that they don’t usually have a space to talk with each other about anxiety and Y Mind not only provided that space for them, but it also fostered supportive friendships that continued beyond the program,” explained Mandy Thayil, a Y Mind manager and facilitator.

YMCA B.C.’s vice-president of community programs Samantha Hartley-Folz said the organization is looking forward to continuing its work, “so even more people can access and benefit from these life-changing and impactful programs.”

The province says the Y Mind programs have served more than 3,700 people, and it’s anticipated that with the funding over the next three years it will reach an additional 1,800 people. Y Mind was first developed by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver.

People can register for the program by contacting YMCA B.C. at or 604-673-6170. People can also fill out an online entry form at

Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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