Your donations are helping youth live their lives at times when they don’t want to
While many businesses and community programs have been hit hard financially during COVID-19, the effects have been different for YouthTalk.
Because they are an online service, their business model has not been interrupted however, the stress of a global pandemic has made for a large increase in people who need their help.
“I have anxiety and depression, and both can be pretty powerful at times. It’s extremely difficult where I live to access mental health services, and to be honest, going in person is really difficult. I’m kind of awkward and talking about such personal things directly to another human is scary as hell,” said a YouthTalk participant who has remained anonymous for privacy reasons. “To be able to access a service like YouthTalk, where I can email, or directly chat in if I really need it, has helped me combat some of the issues I have to deal with on a daily basis. I don’t know what I’d do, at this time in my life, without them.”
Mental health is an issue the United Way is trying to reduce among citizens. 1 in 4 people on Vancouver Island has mental health challenges that compromise their lifestyle and well-being. Thanks to the generous donations from community members unleashing their Local Love, United Way Greater Victoria is helping to promote a community that is a more inclusive and connected place to live.
“Your donation is helping a beautiful and hardworking organization offer help to those who really need it. Mental health services are very under-supported, and what you’ve done is help make this help possible to more people,” said the YouthTalk participant. “While you may not see the direct success of your donation, please know it’s there. YouthTalk is helping more people continue living their lives when a lot of us don’t want to.”
Funding, made possible through United Way’s Local Love in a Global Crisis Fund will be put towards a YouthTalk counsellor, which is much needed as the program has seen a significant spike in demand due to COVID-19.
“YouthTalk is a very efficient and effective way to help youth access counselling,” said Julia Legget, Youth and Family Counsellor and Youthtalk E-Counselling Program Coordinator. “It’s an extremely low barrier service. There’s no waitlist, youth reach out directly when they need help and support and receive it right away. There’s no limit to the number of emails we’ll send so youth transition at their own pace and the medium of email often makes it easier for young people to be open about what’s going on in their lives.”
Just like in-person counselling, YouthTalk helps youth learn to cope with anxiety, depression, self-harm, relationship issues and anything else they need help with. Often YouthTalk can be used as a jumping-off point for youth who are too scared for face-to-face counselling and provide a less anxiety-inducing introduction to support.
“We put people first and really strive to be responsive, genuine, open and accountable in our work with our clients and with each other,” said Legget. “We’re committed to the Westshore community and have been a community member for over 50 years.”