THE YMCA AND WALK OFF THE EARTH REIMAGINE THE Y.M.C.A. ANTHEM, FOCUSING ON YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH
The musical collaboration introduces expanded access to the YMCA’s free youth mental health program, Y Mind.
YMCA Canada and Canadian indie pop band Walk off the Earth today released a modern take on the Y.M.C.A. anthem to raise awareness of expanded access to the free youth mental health program, Y Mind. 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 and here below.
“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 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 YMCA Canada hopes to usher in, as the charity has expanded their broad range of programming to include free mental health services 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 and French (under the name YMCA Libère ta tête). The Y Mind program is offered completely free of charge thanks to support and funding by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“YMCA Canada has been proud to serve our communities for decades, helping Canadians overcome many obstacles that impact overall health, which includes mental well-being,” said Peter Dinsdale, President and CEO of YMCA Canada. “The number of stressors that today’s youth face can seem overwhelming, including the post-pandemic experience, school and social media pressures. While there has been good progress made to alleviate the stigma around mental wellbeing, programs like Y Mind are critical to addressing one of the biggest barriers to accessing help: cost.”
“Mental health is health, and everyone, including Juno Award winners, like Walk off the Earth, are opening up and having conversations about their mental health. The music lets young people know that it’s okay to not be okay and that there is help available through YMCA’s Y Mind program. Our government continues to be very supportive of this initiative,” says The Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health.
The Y Mind program 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.1 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 www.ymca.ca/ymind.