North Suburban YMCA addresses issues for Mental Health Awareness Month

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the North Suburban YMCA is encouraging community members to get involved in mental health conversations.

Mental health is how we think, feel and act. The NSYMCA recognizes that everyone has mental health and that it is an important part of physical health and social-emotional well-being and a core part of one’s identity.

Mental health treatment has become a priority initiative of NSYMCA. The Y recently expanded its YES (YMCA Educational Series) program to include workshops on mental health, youth and families, as well as diversity, equity, inclusion and LGBGTQ+ issues. In response to the mental health crisis, which stems in part from the COVID-19 pandemic, Y employees also became certified mental health first responders through the Josselyn Center.

“We can all play a role in supporting each other’s mental health — in the Y and in our communities,” said North Suburban YMCA CEO Kathy Fielding. “The first step is to speak up in our communities about what mental health really is.”

To help the Y start the conversation about mental health this month, the Y is asking the community to share these facts with friends and family:

FACT: We are all mentally healthy, not just those living with mental illness. Everyone faces challenges in their lives that can impact our mental health.

FACT: There are many things we can do every day to positively impact our mental health. Some examples are:

• move our bodies, refuel and rest


• Pay attention to how we are feeling and what is going on around us

• connect with others and

• ask for help when needed

FACT: In addition to biological and environmental factors, mental health is affected by health inequalities stemming from systemic racism, the social determinants of health, and exposure to trauma. Ys and community organizations can support mental health by addressing barriers that prevent marginalized communities from accessing the support they need.

FACT: Mental health and physical health are linked, and both can impact your overall well-being. Research shows, for example, that exercise can relieve long-term depression.

FACT: Positive mental health can be supported in community settings like the Y, in addition to traditional clinical settings. The Y supports the mental health of individuals and communities in all of the work we do to help people reach their full potential – whether it’s practicing yoga, attending a group exercise class, supporting youth at the summer camps of the Y or helping people do their best physical health or access to services for newcomers.

FACT: We can all support the mental health of our community by infusing empathy, compassion, and kindness into our interactions with others. Something as simple as the intentional question “How are you?” and encouraging honest answers can provide us with an opportunity to normalize mental health and help others when they need it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, know help is available. Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for a list of resources. For immediate assistance, call 24/7 800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741. For more information about the North Suburban YMCA, visit

About the North Suburban YMCA

The North Suburban YMCA provides Northbrook and 14 surrounding communities with programs and tools to help its residents become healthier, more connected, and more confident, ensuring that everyone, regardless of age, income, or background, has an opportunity to learn, to grow and develop. Focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the NSYMCA is a non-profit organization that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone in our community. Learn more at

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