With 18-24 years olds having the highest prevalence of mental illness than any other age group in Australia, youth organisation YMCA NSW (The Y) is doing something about it. The Y will expand Uplift, a new and free mental and physical wellbeing program for young people across several Y sites in Sydney.
Susannah Le Bron, Chief Executive of The Y, said the expansion of the Uplift program comes off the back of its highly successful pilot program in Penrith.
“This is a sensational program – It’s different to other mental wellness programs out there because it is focused on prevention and not treatment after the onset of the illness,” Ms Le Bron said.
“Our Uplift program is designed to reach young people before they hit crisis point, providing them with the tools they need to proactively manage their mental and physical wellbeing over their lifetime.
“We have worked with 143 young people taking part in the program, and our recent impact report shows that 74 per cent of those young people feel Uplift improved their mental health and 92 per cent feel Uplift improved their physical fitness”
Uplift is a free, eight-week program that provides a safe space for 12-25 year olds to connect with trained health and fitness professionals and qualified youth workers to improve their wellbeing through exercise, socialising and learning additional skills and knowledge about making healthy lifestyle choices.
Executive Leader Community Services for The Y NSW, Louisa McKay, said the timing of the Uplift expansion is ideal given the HSC exams start next week and it is mental health month.
“The onset of mental illness is typically around mid-to-late adolescence, with youth (18-24 years old) having the highest prevalence of mental illness than any other age group in Australia, so early intervention and prevention is important” Ms McKay said.
“Right now HSC exams are around the corner for many of our state’s young people, there can also be issues at home and pressures from friends, which can all impact a young person’s wellbeing and mental health- Young people face a lot of challenges and sometimes it can feel a bit out-of-control
“By expanding our preventative Uplift program to more sites throughout NSW, including Penrith, Ku-ring-gai, Taree, Epping, Mt Annan and the Hawkesbury, we hope to provide more young people with the mental health and well-being skills they need to manage these many challenges.”
Isabella, 18, completed the pilot Uplift program in Penrith and said Uplift made a big difference to her at a time when she was affected by a lot of change.
“I recently graduated and was nervously waiting for my university course to start while attempting to balance a 9-5 job,” she said.
“I was desperately seeking something that was beneficial to my physical and emotional health, but also allowed me a space to communicate with other people in my age group.
“Mentally, emotionally, physically and socially this program has made an immense positive impact on my life. My sleep schedule and eating habits have improved, physically I’m healthier and I feel better about myself, my appearance and the way I have structured my weeks around this program,” said Isabella.
Uplift offers young people an eight-week free fitness membership including group fitness classes, weekly Uplift classes with a group of people around the same age, and support and education about nutrition, exercise benefits and safety, and goal setting.
Young people can join the Uplift program through self-nomination, and parents, caregivers, youth and service providers working with groups of young people can also submit registrations on-behalf of young people that want to join the program.
To get involved, or for more information visit: www.ymcansw.org.au//uplift
MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Hancock on 0439 427 522 or Bridgette Godden on 0437 789 206Back to news