Get help managing stress, anxiety and uncomfortable emotions
The Y Mind program is an innovative, youth informed, early intervention program that helps teens and young adults manage stress and anxiety. Y Mind helps young people cope with anxiety and improve their sense of well-being by introducing them to evidence-based tools and connecting them with others.
Y Mind was first developed by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver and has been offered in British Columbia since 2018 with thanks to funding provided by the Province of British Columbia. Y Mind has now expanded to 21 YMCAs across the country, including YMCA Calgary.
Y Mind Teen
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. Participants learn and practice evidence-based strategies to help manage anxiety.
Y Mind Teen is led by trained mental health professionals and gives teens the chance to connect with peers who are experiencing similar thoughts and feelings.
Y Mind Youth
Y Mind Youth is a free seven-week mental wellness program for young people who are aged 18 to 30 and struggling with mild-to-moderate anxiety or stress. Anxiety can impact our lives by preventing us from doing what we want or need to do. It can also be an isolating experience.
This free program brings young people who have similar thoughts and feelings together. Participants learn evidence-based skills from trained mental health professionals and report feeling reduced anxiety, increased well-being and feeling less alone following the program.
All Y Mind participants will receive a free YMCA membership for the duration of their time in the program as well as a participant workbook and a copy of the Illustrated Happiness Trap book by Russ Harris.
How to Apply
Interested participants must sign up for a Y Mind Information & Intake Session before registering for the Y Mind 7-week program. The Information & Intake sessions ensure the program is the right fit.
Information & Intake Sessions are in-person and include a 30 minute presentation about Y Mind, followed by 15 minute one-on-one interviews with each interested participant. Participants are only required to be present for the presentation portion and their scheduled one-on-one interview.
Information and Intake Sessions
For Spring Program Information, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Y Mind Frequently Asked Questions
Y Mind programs are for Teens ages 13-18 and Youth/Young Adults ages 18-30 who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety and stress. (note – a formal diagnoses of anxiety is not required)
Everybody experiences stress, anxiety and uncomfortable emotions – it’s totally normal! How we cope with these things can make the difference between suffering and withdrawing from people, activities and opportunities or moving forward in a way that allows us to live our best, most fulfilling life.
If stress and anxiety are preventing you from doing the things you want or need to do in life, then this program is for you!
Participants will learn and practice a variety of evidence-based strategies to help them cope more effectively with stress and anxiety. You will leave with a better understanding of what anxiety is and why our body and mind respond the way they do.
You will be equipped with tools to help you connect with the present moment, acknowledge, and make room for difficult feelings, defuse unhelpful thoughts and take committed action towards your goals in alignment with your values and what’s most important to you. All while taking a compassionate approach with yourself.
This course is facilitated by trained and caring staff in a safe and supportive group environment. Participants will benefit from the opportunity to connect with others of a similar age who are experiencing similar thoughts and feelings.
Anyone interested in attending a Y Mind program must attend an Information & Intake session first to be considered for the 7-week program. Registration can be completed on our online program registration portal. [link to portal]
Y Mind may not be suitable for everybody. We want to ensure you are matched with a program that best fits your needs.
Not necessarily. During the Information & Intake Session, you will have an opportunity to meet with facilitators one-to-one to discuss your reasons for joining the program and what you hope to get out of it. Depending on each person’s circumstances, you may be offered a spot in the program, asked to return for a future program or referred to a different program or service better suited to your needs. Each Y Mind group is formed with the best interests of all participants in mind. Participants will be informed of their place in the program at the end of the intake cycle.
Y Mind may be a good fit for you if:
- You fall within the appropriate age category (13-18) or (18-30)
- You can attend all seven weekly sessions
- You experience mild-to-moderate anxiety and stress (individuals experiencing severe anxiety and stress that significantly impacts their ability to perform daily activities likely require more support than what Y Mind is intended to provide)
- Anxiety is your primary concern right now (as opposed to other mental, physical, social or economic health concerns)
- You are willing to learn and participate in a group environment with others who are experiencing similar thoughts and feelings
- You are open to the experiences and opinions of others, even if they are different from your own
- You understand and can apply the use of metaphors to learn about and discuss topics related to anxiety and coping skills
- You feel comfortable learning and communicating in English
Y Mind facilitators come with a variety of educational backgrounds and experience, including Counselling Psychology, Youth Work, Social Work, Conflict Resolution, Gender Studies, Sexual Health, Education and more. All facilitators are trained in the Y Mind Curriculum and approach, including Mindfulness, foundational concepts of ACT and Self Compassion.
In order to get the most out of this program, it’s important that all participants feel ready and motivated to attend, learn and participate. Please talk to your teen about the program prior to signing them up. Your teen is welcome to attend an Information & Intake Session to see if it’s the right fit for them at this time or not. If a teen expresses that they are not interested, it’s better for them to wait until they are ready.
Parents are welcome to attend the Information portion of the Information & Intake Session, however, all participants must attend the one-to-one intake interview on their own. To maintain safety and confidentiality of participants, we do not allow unregistered persons into the seven-week program sessions.
Generally, we recommend that siblings attend separately so that family dynamics do not impact their willingness to participate openly in the program. With siblings and friends alike, it is important to consider whether their presence together will be supportive or prohibitive of an immersive experience.
No, Y Mind is not group therapy. It is a psychoeducational program that uses education and experiential learning to teach healthy coping skills for stress and anxiety. Mindfulness activities and foundational concepts from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy are incorporated throughout the program.
For more information, please email email@example.com with your questions and we will get back to you.
“I got to learn where stress and anxiety actually stems from.”
“I liked that we talked about the amygdala, and how anxiety is related to our instincts.”
“Listening to the other participants talk about their experiences etc. It made me feel a lot less anxious to share mine.”
“Learning about visualization and the mindfulness activity that came with it was my favorite part because it really brought me some peace and comfort to watch a negative thought drift away.”
“I liked the food mindfulness exercise. Some days I really struggle with food and I’m going to try and use this on the days that I struggle”
“My favorite part of this session was gaining a better understanding of myself and my emotions”
“I liked how understanding everyone was, and the way the instructors talked was soothing, and calming.”
“Seeing others have that lightbulb moment of 'Hey, maybe I'm not so alone after all.' Because it's always nice to see others realize that others feel the same as they do and that maybe there is a mutual understanding.”