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Winston-Salem, NC (July 5, 2024) – The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina (NWNC) has hired Erin Bracey as its program director of teen mental health to address the critical needs of teens by identifying mental health challenges, providing resources and connections to mental health providers, and fostering supportive communities. In her role, Bracey will provide support to all 14 of the YMCA of NWNC’s locations.

Bracey has extensive experience and a deep passion for promoting mental health awareness and helping individuals and families access mental health resources. Her history of working with children, including as a preschool teacher, behavior specialist for the state of North Carolina and engagement specialist for Girl Scouts, demonstrates a steadfast commitment to supporting youth. She is also trained in mental health first aid and youth mental health first aid.

As the program director of teen mental health, Bracey will meet with youth directors from each of the YMCA of NWNC’s locations to evaluate the needs of its youth and formulate a customized plan for them. Additionally, she will focus on training staff in social and emotional learning and will become a certified instructor for youth mental health first aid. She will also receive training in teen mental health first aid, which emphasizes peer-to-peer support.

To support families and communities, Bracey will share knowledge on a variety of mental health resources ranging from suicide prevention hotlines to therapeutic options like art and music therapy, with a goal of developing a resource guide that will be distributed across the YMCA of NWNC association.

“Connecting individuals with essential resources is a fundamental part of my mission,” Bracey shared. “There is a wealth of diverse support available for families, and I am committed to making it easily accessible. If I can positively impact a youth or teen’s life, as well as their family’s, by bridging these gaps, then I am truly fulfilled.”

Bracey will also facilitate meetings with community partners to strengthen the support network available to the YMCA's youth and their families. Her goal is to provide a holistic approach to mental health, ensuring that every young person has the opportunity to thrive in a supportive and understanding environment.

About the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina

The YMCA is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina engages more than 115,000 men, women and children annually – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the community’s health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in communities across seven counties, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver lasting personal and social change.



Our Mission: "Helping all people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body."