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Tuesday, 9 October 2018
YMCA NSW launches Uplift
A new youth mental wellbeing program inspired by a young person, that provides free access to exercise sessions and new support networks was launched in Penrith on Monday, 8 October. YMCA Uplift is a partnership between YMCA NSW and Bendigo Bank, targeting 12 to 25 year olds who have mental health issues or are experiencing stress due to studies, friends or family.

Informed by research that shows a strong link between physical activity and mental wellbeing, the eight-week early intervention program provides participants with up to two facilitated group sessions per week. The young people are exposed to a variety of exercise types including boxing, sports/games and yoga and have unlimited access to YMCA Penrith where the program is initially being trialled (or Teen Gym if under age 16). There will also be support and education offered on topics including exercising safely and nutrition.

YMCA NSW CEO Susannah Le Bron said she found the situation incredibly alarming – not only as the leader of an organisation that strives to empower young people but also as the mother of teenagers.

“Governments, organisations and individuals – we all have a role to play in addressing the crisis of youth mental health. YMCA Uplift is a powerful program as an overwhelming amount of research tells us that physical activity reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, increases self-esteem and has benefits that extend to improved cognitive function and social health. Exercise in groups is also proven to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation
,” Ms Le Bron said.