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Join York Region’s largest fundraiser for youth mental health, Mental Health in Motion

20 per cent of youth experiencing mental health challenges – and numbers continue to grow amidst “pandemic hangover”

The Canadian Mental Health Association York Region & South Simcoe has noticed a rising need for programming and services for youth.

“We know 70 per cent of mental health issues start in someone’s youth. If you catch issues early, you can treat them early. If you don’t things can become exacerbated,” said CMHA York Region & South Simcoe CEO Rebecca Shields.

Mental Health in Motion – Sunday June 9th in Newmarket

The largest fundraiser for youth mental health in York Region, CMHA’s flagship event Mental Health in Motion on June 9th, 2024 raises much needed funds to support mental health programs and services for youth ages 12 – 25 in York Region and South Simcoe.

The fun, family-friendly event will see hundreds of people from the community participate by walking, riding and running routes starting from the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex in Newmarket. There are routes for all skill levels and ages, up to and including a 60KM or 20KM ride, as well as a 5KM run or walk.

“A lot is changing in our healthcare system, and people keep discussing the pressures and under-funding of services by the government. The money we raise through Mental Health in Motion directly supports ongoing youth programs and innovative new ways to help youth get access when they need it,” she said.


Funds raised keep MOBYSS on the road

Mental Health in Motion raises funds to support CMHA’s free, confidential and safe Mobile Youth Walk-In Clinic nicknamed MOBYSS. When there, youth can see a medical or mental health professional who is meeting them where they’re at, both emotionally and physically.

“MOBYSS is a 35-foot RV wrapped in graffiti and acts as a full primary care office, complete with a nurse practitioner, youth mental health worker and a peer support specialist. We go to schools and other gathering spots, and allow youth to get access to healthcare with no questions asked,” she said.

“Whether it’s reproductive health questions, dealing with anxiety or depression, suicidal ideation or a number of other things, we’re there to help. We are always there for the youth. It isn’t like a doctor’s office where you have 15 minutes. We stay until they get what they need, or we get them to the next level of service.”

Since MOBYSS launched in 2015, it has served more than 16,000 youth and visited an array of high schools and community events across York Region and South Simcoe. Funds raised from Mental Health in Motion help keep MOBYSS on the road and help youth to see their community supports their mental wellness.

“We bring services to kids who may not be able to get to a clinic or hospital. Our Mental Health in Motion event also shows youth that people are out running, walking and cycling to demonstrate their support and raise awareness around mental health stigma. For many, our lives are impacted by our mental health or the mental health of a loved one, and there can be real shame or social isolation. This event shows people they aren’t alone,” said Shields.


20 per cent of children and youth experiencing mental health challenges

Shields says 20 per cent of children and youth in the area are experiencing a mental health challenge, and numbers continue to grow as people experience a “pandemic hangover.”

“The loss of years at a critical age has impacted young people. There was social isolation and an unwanted break in regular education or schooling. The tail end of COVID is still alive, and it’s affected affordability and put families under strain. Youth are feeling it most,” she said.

“They’re looking at their futures with worry and concern. There’s this comparison culture due to social media, and false expectations for where kids should be right now. With the fear of grades, getting into university and added anxiety, there are large strains. To add these issues while youth are still finding themselves is difficult.”


Youth need our support now more than ever

Shields is grateful to the community for their participation in Mental Health in Motion to raise funds to meet the growing demand for mental health services.

“This is an event for everyone, and even since we first started, the conversation around mental health has changed. We see more and more people each year coming out and demonstrating their support. We want to continue to see people show their solidarity with youth in this community,” she said.

“We need to show people we are a caring community and give the proper healthcare. As an organization, CMHA is proud of the support services we offer people, and this event allows people to celebrate and have fun together. It’s incredible to see the way people smile knowing the money is going to youth in our community who need it.”


CMHA in our community

The CMHA York Region South Simcoe branch is one of Canada’s largest providers of community mental health and substance use support, something Shields is proud of as CMHA celebrates 40 years in the community.

“Last year CMHA supported more than 20,000 individuals in our community through 36 programs and services working with youth, adults and caregivers. Our programs are based on the diverse needs of individuals we serve including case-management support, support for people in hospital who need a robust interdisciplinary team, and programs supporting with stabilizing, recovery and rehabilitation,” she said.


For more information about CMHA’s free programs and services visit

Register for Mental Health in Motion Today

Mental Health in Motion is Sunday, June 9th, 2024, and routes kick off between 9:30 a.m and 11 a.m. There will be a BBQ lunch served starting at 11:30 a.m. for registrants, and there’s also a virtual component where participants can run, walk or cycle their distance any time from now until June 9th. The family-friendly event includes live entertainment, a Children’s Activity Area, photo booth, silent auction and other fun activities.

For more information, to register or make a donation, visit