YMCA Offers Free Introduction to Mindfulness Classes to Promote Mental Health Awareness Month

Image via YMCA of Greater Brandywine.

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine is offering a new Introduction to Mindfulness for Wellbeing class for free throughout the month of May in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month. The four-week virtual class will be held on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings.  

“All people experience mental health on a spectrum that is influenced by their day-to-day experiences and commitments,” said Jim Paro, Chief Strategy Officer for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine.  

“While we have many offerings that help individuals manage their mental health and daily stressors on their own – like physical activity, connections to community, or participation in philanthropic efforts – we are excited to explore more intentional programming options where participants can learn practical skills and strategies for consciously supporting their mental health.” 

Introduction to Mindfulness for Wellbeing will go through key mindfulness practices that can help individuals to cultivate greater self-awareness, manage or reduce stress, and live with greater ease.  

Classes are enrolling now and are free with the code MINDFULMAY.   

“Mental health is a huge piece of our overall health,” said Heather Bloodworth, VP of Membership and Wellness who leads the new program. “For someone who feels overwhelmed or lost or who may be struggling, it can feel like a tremendous hurdle just getting started. The YMCA can play such a critical role in making programs more accessible and to help reduce stigma and barriers to getting help.”   

In addition to the new Introduction to Mindfulness for Wellbeing offering, the YMCA has partnered with West Chester University to provide additional training for its staff.  

“This summer, all of our camp leadership staff – in addition to a number of our other key leaders – will go through Youth Mental Health First Aid training,” said Bloodworth. “This evidenced-based training teaches participants how to identify risk factors, warning signs, and provides practical skills to help someone struggling with a mental health concern or crisis.”   

Mental Health First Aid classes are currently being offered for free, both online and in-person through WCU and the county.   

  • Introduction to Mindfulness for Wellbeing from May 4-24 from 1-2 PM and May 5-25 from 6-7 PM: Join for this Introduction to Mindfulness Program and boost your mental health and well-being. It is free with the code MINDFULMAY. Register for May 4-25 here. Register for May 5-25 here.
  • Mental Health First Aid Training on May 18 from 8:30-3:30 PM; May 20 from 8:30-3 PM: Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour, evidence-based public education program designed to teach everyday citizens the skills to help someone struggling with a mental health concern or crisis. Register for May 18 here. Register for May 20 here
  • Resilience Screening and Panel Discussion on May 3 from 6:30-8:30 PM; May 5 from 5:30-8:30 PM: Join for a screening and discussion of Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope, a one-hour documentary that delves into the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the birth of a movement to treat and prevent toxic stress. Register here.  
  • QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention Class on May 5 from 12-2 PM: Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicidal crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Register by e-mailing ccsptaskforce@gmail.com.
  • Your Elementary School Student and the Pandemic: Bouncing Back for Fall on May 10 from 7-8 PM: A Panel Presentation from the CCSP Task Force. Register here.  
  • Back to the Basics: How to Use the Summer Break to De-Stress and Reconnect with Your Middle or High Schooler on May 17 from 7-8 PM: A Panel Presentation from the CCSP Task Force. Register here
  • Connections: Trauma & Suicide on May 18 from 6-7 PM: In this training, the audience will examine how traumas, like Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), are associated with rising suicide rates, as well as how the loss of a loved one to suicide can be a traumatic experience. Register here