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YMCA Brightside Mental Health & Wellbeing

Almost half of all Australians will experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime.The Y’s Brightside program offers opportunities for people with a mental illness to improve their physical, social and mental health and wellbeing. The program offers free and unlimited access to a Y facility for 60 days, as well as a customised exercise program and one-on-one support.

Click here to download the YMCA Brightside Referral Form

For more information, please contact our YMCA Brightside Coordinator:

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: 02 9633 8225

People affected by mental illness often experience weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood glucose levels. A wealth of research points to the positive effect of exercise on mental wellbeing, namely by reducing stress, increasing energy levels and improving self-esteem and confidence.YMCA Brightside Mental Health & Wellbeing program was established based on this research and promotes exercise as a recovery mechanism for people with a mental illness. The program offers free and unlimited access to a Y facility for 60 days, as well as a customised exercise program and one-on-one support. Designed in collaboration with Suicide Prevention Australia and the Black Dog Institute, the Y’s Brightside program has assisted over 500 people since it began in 2009.

The program also won the 2010 award for Innovation in Service Delivery from the Mental Health Association of NSW Health.

How YMCA Brightside Works


New participants are accepted through self-referral, referral from a carer or referral from a
doctor, social worker, psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional.
The Y may request that individuals who have self-referred also provide a referral
confirmation from their doctor, mental health professional or social worker to ensure
we are providing the best possible care and the right program for each individual.
The referral form at the back of this brochure can be faxed or emailed to YMCA NSW or
your local Y Brightside location.

We’ll call you

Once the form is received, a Brightside program leader will contact the referrer to discuss
the program in detail and confirm it will be of benefit to the patient.
If we can help, the program leader will arrange the first meeting and introduction to the Y for
the participant and continue to work with the referrer to provide complete support.

First visit

A first-time visit to a gym can be a daunting experience for anyone. We arrange for a
program leader to personally meet and greet the participant for a full orientation, which
will include a tour of the Y, a general health questionnaire, goal-setting and a fitness
consultation to determine the best personalised exercise program for the participant.

Begin the journey

Each following visit to the Y allows the participant to speak with the program leader about
their progress. The program can be adapted as required.
Additionally, this contact will allow for more guided sessions on specific equipment, an
opportunity to learn new exercise techniques and, importantly, assistance in maintaining

Program review

At the end of 60 days, the program leader will meet with the participant to review the
program and explore options to continue exercising at the Y. The program leader will also
ask participants to complete a brief questionnaire to be shared with the referring health

We Care

We seek regular input from referring health professionals to interpret each participant’s
assessments and gauge the impact of the program on their life. At all stages, our primary
focus is the health and wellbeing of the individual. We take all necessary care
in this matter and highly value discretion and their right to privacy.

Centres currently running the Brightside Program

YMCA Centre
UNSW Fitness & Aquatic Centre
Gate 2, High St, Kensington NSW 2052
Morris Iemma Indoor Sports Centre
150 Belmore Rd, Riverwood NSW 2210
YMCA Caringbah
5-9 Jacaranda Rd, Caringbah NSW 2229
YMCA Epping
15 Ward St, Epping NSW 2121
Hawkesbury Oasis YMCA
Cnr Church & Drummond Streets, South Windsor NSW 2756
Mt Annan Leisure Centre
368 Welling Dr, Mount Annan NSW 2567
YMCA Penrith
1 Pattys Pl, Jamisontown NSW 2750
Ku-ring-gai Fitness & Aquatic Centre
Prince of Wales Drive, West Pymbol NSW 2073
Singleton YMCA
14-16 Civic Ave, Singleton NSW 2330
Lake Haven YMCA
Goobarabah Ave, Gorokan NSW 2263
Manning Aquatic Leisure Centre
Manning River Dr, Taree North NSW 2430