A new Y NSW program will launch this month in Parramatta and Mount Annan to tackle the roll-on effects of COVID-19 on the lives of local young people.

Uplift is a free 6-week active wellness program, designed to help young people harness the power of physical exercise to improve health, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and boost self-esteem and confidence.

Mental health and social isolation are among the top five concerns of children and young people according to a joint report by the Australian Human Rights Commission and Kids’ Helpline into the impact of the pandemic on young Australians.

Y NSW Head of Youth Programs (Metro) Heather Lynn said it’s vital to equip young people early with tools to manage their wellness in the current climate.

She said:

“We know the impact of the ongoing pandemic on young people will be long lasting and challenging.”

“Y NSW is responding proactively to this concern, bringing Uplift to Mount Annan and Parramatta. The program is accessible to anybody aged 16-24 and is about discovering the strength of the connections between our bodies, minds and spirits to support wellbeing.”

The program is supported by a Y NSW youth worker and fitness instructor.

Previous participant, Isabella, 18, said the program’s impact has been long lasting.

She said:

“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.”

In Parramatta, the program will run out of the Y NSW and Westfield Y Space pop-up from Thursday March 11, 5.30 – 7pm.

Uplift will launch in Mount Annan on Monday, March 15 between 5.45 and 7pm at the Mount Annan Leisure Centre.

Of all participants taking part in 2019-2020 Uplift programs in Greater Sydney, 78.8% believed their mental health had improved 90.9% said they made positive connections 92% felt their physical fitness had improved.

The expansion of Uplift to Mount Annan and Parramatta is possible thanks to funding from Camden Council and Australia Post.

Registrations can be made by young people or guardians and referral services at: https://www.ymcansw.org.au/community-services/mental-health/uplift/

For more information, email uplift@ymcansw.org.au