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


14th October 2022

This year, YMCA Europe joined with Kosovo YMCA to promote the “Speak Freely” digital campaign.

At the 20th YMCA World Council this summer in Aarhus, Denmark, Matías Irarrázaval of PAHO/WHO, was the keynote speaker of the Engagement Panel on Community Wellbeing/Mental Health.

He shared alarming statistics about the mental health of adolescents and youth.

Suicide is the fourth-leading cause of death among 15-19-year-olds globally: “more than 45,000 adolescents die from suicide each year”, he said. “That’s one every 11 minutes”. Additionally, governments worldwide invest little in mental health, with a median expenditure of 2.1 percent of overall health budgets, he said.


Our “Speak Freely” digital campaign was focused on raising awareness for mental health, encouraging young people to have productive conversations about mental health, and calling for accessible, high-quality mental health services and information for all, especially young people.


We invited YMCAs across Europe to join the awareness raising through social media activities alongside providing some resources for YMCAs to host their own sessions and discussions.

#Speakfreely Campaign 10 October

Staff, volunteers and participants across Europe joined the campaign from Aberdeen, Scotland to Setubal, Portugal through to Siderno, Italy and reaching right across to Peace Institute participants in Armenia!

#Speakfreely Campaign 10 October

We are happy to report that 14 countries posted and joined the campaign on the day, reaching over 164.5K with 2k likes and interactions.

Furthermore, we were happy to see people of all ages engaged in mindfulness activities, tea break discussions, yoga, arts and much more across local and National YMCAs across Europe!.

#Speakfreely Campaign 10 October

YMCA Europe is working hard to showcase the work of YMCAs across Europe. We will continue to partner with National YMCAs to amplify their voice and messages and mark certain International days together.

If your YMCA is interested to help organise activities and campaigns please contact online[at]ymcaeurope.com.

Learn more about other ideas throughout the global YMCA Movement sharing to protect and improve mental health, especially in young people, on the World Mental Health Day. 

Check out the full album below

Mental Health Day #Speakfreely Campaign |10 October 2022

1,384,671 €

Funds received up to October 31th in response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Check here the YMCA response and projects across Europe.

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