NC YMCAs Observe Mental Health Awareness Month and Train Staff in Community Care Model

grahic that says Mental health is how we think feel and act

The NC Alliance of YMCAs is proud to announce its participation in Mental Health Awareness Month throughout the month of May. This month is a crucial opportunity to break down stigmas surrounding mental health, promote understanding and provide resources to those in need. The Y’s Teen Mental Health Resource Hub housed online at is available to support teens (and their families) who may be struggling with their mental health. 

“At the Y, we recognize that we all have mental health, and mental health is an important part of our overall health and social-emotional well-being,” said Sheree Thaxton Vodicka, CEO of the NC Alliance of YMCAs. “Mental Health Awareness Month provides an opportunity for us to promote a culture of understanding and acceptance, and to further our work to support teens.” 

As part of this commitment, last week 30 YMCA staff from around the state participated in Mental Health Community Care Training provided by YMCA of the USA in Raleigh. Mental health community care is a preventive model of care that equips and empowers individuals with the ability to provide informal, community-based mental health support. 

Community-based support focuses on mental health promotion to encourage and increase healthy behaviors, protective factors, and resilience. This approach helps to reduce the risk and impact of mental illness, provide early intervention, and support the process of healing and recovery. 

“Collaboration with licensed and credentialed mental health providers is a critical part of the community care model, and that’s why North Carolina YMCAs are partnering with mental health experts in their local communities to support teens and their families,” Vodicka said. “Through the Y’s programs for teens, we are creating supportive environments and relationships and teaching life skills, as well as educating teens and families about mental health, as part of the community care model. When our Y staff identify a teen that may be struggling with their mental health, we are able to refer them to a local expert who can help.”

Through grant funding provided by the NC legislature, YMCAs launched their work to support teen mental health in March. Recognizing the importance of mental well-being, especially for adolescents post-Covid, NC YMCAs are implementing a multi-faceted approach. This includes the Teen Mental Health Resource Hub at, a teen mental health destigmatization campaign, “Mental Health Has No Face;” new and expanded teen programming at Ys across the state, and partnerships with local mental health providers.

Twenty-five YMCA associations, with 120 branches and overnight camps around the state, are engaging in this work, including: 
•    Alamance County Family YMCA 
•    Cleveland County Family YMCA 
•    Eastern Carolina YMCA
•    Foundation YMCA of Wilson 
•    Gaston County Family YMCA 
•    Goldsboro Family YMCA
•    Harrison Family YMCA
•    Henderson Family YMCA 
•    J. Smith Young YMCA
•    Randolph-Asheboro YMCA 
•    Rowan-Cabarrus YMCA
•    Stanly County Family YMCA
•    Tom A. Finch Community YMCA
•    Williams YMCA of Avery County 
•    YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly
•    YMCA of Catawba Valley
•    YMCA of Greater Charlotte
•    YMCA of Greensboro
•    YMCA of High Point
•    YMCA of Northwest North Carolina
•    YMCA of South Hampton Road’s three branches in Eastern North Carolina 
•    YMCA of the Sandhills 
•    YMCA of Southeastern NC
•    YMCA of the Triangle 
•    YMCA of Western North Carolina.