„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


9th October 2020

Personal development in a holistic way has always been a key objective of the YMCA movement.

Seeking for a healthy balance among body, mind and spirit as three interconnected parts of all individuals, has been achieved through a vast range of initiatives at all levels. A number of YMCAs across Europe have developed successful projects raising awareness of mental health issues affecting young people. The active participation of young people both as leaders and as beneficiaries of mental health projects, has been crucial for this success.

As we observe Mental health Day today October 10th, we cannot avoid reflecting about the relation between COVID-19 and the mental and physical wellbeing in our communities. In addition to the physical effects of the pandemic, it is a fact that this unusual and unpredictable situation is causing a “massive increase of mental health issues” according to World Health Organization.

It is a fact that the impact of COVID-19 within vulnerable groups has caused situations of anxiety, fear, insecurity and loneliness.

As YMCA members, most of us have received news about colleagues and groups that are facing these challenges. It is a reality that adds a negative factor to the heath, social and economic frame cased by COVID-19.

This means that we have a very important internal role trying to provide a more solid ground to our members, volunteers and staff when it comes to mental health. Many of our colleagues face new working conditions, our offices and spaces are either adapted or even temporary closed, our projects are being constantly adjusted. We have an extra responsibility to respond in an effective way to a social reality that was not in our plans just a few months ago.  

In recent weeks we have learned about the increase of socially relevant issues affecting young people in Europe. Higher rates of unemployment, the impact of COVID-19 in refugees, migrants and other vulnerable groups, conflicts in different European regions, including an open war in South Caucasus.

The YMCA at local, national and regional level has shown a strong commitment with these social realities and our joint efforts have contributed to provide relief to thousands of beneficiaries in these fields. Our programmes were adjusted and we remain relevant.

At Mental Heath Day, we encourage our stakeholders, partners and members across our network in Europe to focus on the mental needs of our beneficiaries as a key part of their holistic growth and wellbeing. Our prayers and thoughts are with them as we continue putting our Christian mission in practice through projects that contribute to that goal.

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