The YMCA and Walk off the Earth reimagine the Y.M.C.A. anthem, focusing on youth mental health
The musical collaboration celebrates the YMCA’s national expansion of youth mental health program, Y Mind
Toronto, Ontario, 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 celebrate the national expansion of Y Mind, a seven-week innovative early intervention mental health program for young Canadians. 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 the YMCA hopes to usher in, as the charity expands its broad range of programming to include free mental health services nationally 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 in English. The Y Mind program is offered completely free of charge thanks to support and funding by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“We are proud to offer the Y Mind program here in the Greater Toronto Area. The number of stressors that today’s youth face can seem 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 to 30 so they can get the help they need,” said Lesley Davidson, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Toronto.
The Y Mind program expansion 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. 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 https://ymcagta.org/youth-programs/y-mind
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.
About the YMCA of Greater Toronto
The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity that ignites the potential in people, helping them grow, lead and give back to their communities. For 170 years, the YMCA of Greater Toronto has provided opportunities for people to shine through a variety of programs and services including health and fitness, licensed child care, camps, employment and immigrant services, education and training, and services for youth, families and seniors. Promoting equity and boosting well-being across more than 440 locations in the Greater Toronto Area, the Y is a leading charity that helps everyone shine. For more information visit https://ymcagta.org.