Posted 09/10/2019 3:00:58 PM by Vanessa Smit

What is World Mental Health Day?

World Mental Health Day 2019 is observed annually on October 10th around the world. It was started by the World Federation of Mental Health to promote education, awareness and advocacy of global mental health issues. This year the focus is on Suicide Prevention, which creates a valuable opportunity to increase the ongoing conversations regarding the topic of mental health and suicide within our communities. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has shared some stark suicide statistics; every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide. Suicide is a global experience which occurs throughout the life span and affects all communities. Unfortunately, it’s the second leading cause of death globally among 15 to 29-year-olds. Closer to home, statistics published by the B.C. Coroners report state that B.C.’s suicide rates are close to 500 each year.

Community & Connection

Suicide and related mental health challenges are a significant issue within our communities. The YMCA is passionate about breaking down mental health stigma while contributing to open and honest discussions on mental wellness within our wider communities, workplaces, schools, universities, neighbourhoods and homes. Mental health challenges affect everyone to some degree throughout their lifetime, and we believe the key to navigating these challenges lies in fostering our connection to ourselves and each other.

A paradox of our time is how technology has the potential to increase our opportunities for connection, but the quality of our social connections has led to many people feeling disconnected.  This disconnection can have a significant impact on our sense of support, belonging, and community. The YMCA places belonging and connection at the heart of our organization, and to mark World Mental Health Day 2019, we would like to invite you to reflect on valued connections in your life, be it to yourself, a friend, family member, pet, hobby, or the wider community.  

Connections are what helps to support mental wellness when challenges arise, and by committing to sharing these connections and establishing new, wider networks of openness and community, we can co-create an even brighter future for our collective mental wellness. As well as acknowledging and celebrating our personal connections of support, let’s share the wealth, and commit to offering others a smile, a hello, a how are you, a word of support and encouragement, a helping hand, an invitation, a laugh, a demonstration of solidarity… the list goes on. The impact of this connection could mean the world to someone who is feeling disconnected and navigating their mental health journey.

YMCA Mental Wellness Programs, Here to Help!

The Y’s Mental Wellness Programs are delivered across B.C. support teens and young adults ages 13 to 30 who are experiencing mild-moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression, including worry, stress, and low mood. The group-based programs normalize mental health struggles and take a strengths-based approach, which fosters belonging and connection, allowing teens and young adults to make new friends and create new systems of support within their community. All participants also receive a complimentary YMCA membership for the duration of the program to further enhance their opportunities for wellbeing and connection.

Rowena Kelly, 

Y Mind Supervisor 


If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health challenges, a healthcare professional such as a doctor, psychologist, or counsellor will be able to outline the support options available. If there is a mental health crisis, contact 911 or go to a hospital immediately.  The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of B.C. offers a range of crisis support services, including the B.C. wide 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) number. Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) is a national support service for teenagers and children.

About Vanessa Smit

Vanessa is a Marketing and Communications Manager based out of Vancouver. Don't be surprised if you find her researching cause related initiatives, French Bulldog puppies, playing in the sun or watching Raptors games. She's inspired by seeing and learning about engaging marketing campaigns, especially ones that help increase awareness of mission-driven initiatives—ask for examples, she would be happy to share!

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