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  • YMCA Brightside

    YMCA Brightside Mental Health & Wellbeing

    Almost half of all Australians will experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime.The Y’s Brightside program offers opportunities for people with a mental illness to improve their physical, social and mental health and wellbeing. The program offers free and unlimited access to a Y facility for 60 days, as well as a customised exercise program and one-on-one support.

    Click here to download the YMCA Brightside Referral Form 

    For more information, please contact our YMCA Brightside Coordinator:


    Phone: 02 9687 6233

    People affected by mental illness often experience weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood glucose levels. A wealth of research points to the positive effect of exercise on mental wellbeing, namely by reducing stress, increasing energy levels and improving self-esteem and confidence.YMCA Brightside Mental Health & Wellbeing program was established based on this research and promotes exercise as a recovery mechanism for people with a mental illness. The program offers free and unlimited access to a Y facility for 60 days, as well as a customised exercise program and one-on-one support. Designed in collaboration with Suicide Prevention Australia and the Black Dog Institute, the Y’s Brightside program has assisted over 500 people since it began in 2009.

    The program also won the 2010 award for Innovation in Service Delivery from the Mental Health Association of NSW Health.

    How YMCA Brightside Works


    New participants are accepted through self-referral, referral from a carer or referral from a
    doctor, social worker, psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional.

    The Y may request that individuals who have self-referred also provide a referral
    confirmation from their doctor, mental health professional or social worker to ensure
    we are providing the best possible care and the right program for each individual.
    The referral form at the back of this brochure can be faxed or emailed to YMCA NSW or
    your local Y Brightside location.

    We’ll call you

    Once the form is received, a Brightside program leader will contact the referrer to discuss
    the program in detail and confirm it will be of benefit to the patient.

    If we can help, the program leader will arrange the first meeting and introduction to the Y for
    the participant and continue to work with the referrer to provide complete support.

    First visit

    A first-time visit to a gym can be a daunting experience for anyone. We arrange for a
    program leader to personally meet and greet the participant for a full orientation, which
    will include a tour of the Y, a general health questionnaire, goal-setting and a fitness
    consultation to determine the best personalised exercise program for the participant.

    Begin the journey

    Each following visit to the Y allows the participant to speak with the program leader about
    their progress. The program can be adapted as required.

    Additionally, this contact will allow for more guided sessions on specific equipment, an
    opportunity to learn new exercise techniques and, importantly, assistance in maintaining

    Program review

    At the end of 60 days, the program leader will meet with the participant to review the
    program and explore options to continue exercising at the Y. The program leader will also
    ask participants to complete a brief questionnaire to be shared with the referring health

    We Care

    We seek regular input from referring health professionals to interpret each participant’s
    assessments and gauge the impact of the program on their life. At all stages, our primary
    focus is the health and wellbeing of the individual. We take all necessary care
    in this matter and highly value discretion and their right to privacy.