“At the beginning [of COVID] it was really about safety. Do the youth we support have food, shelter, a home . . . are they safe?” says Nazreth, Counsellor / Registered Psychotherapist at YSM Evergreen Centre for Street Youth.
Knowing the need for counselling was especially vital during this time, and unable to have face-to-face conversations, the Mental Health Counselling team quickly began checking in with clients over email and offering sessions by phone, or video call.
Nazreth speaks regularly with clients, and remote counselling has offered space to reconnect with struggling youth. For some, the ability to easily connect to tele-counselling has made accessing the support easier. Others are struggling with isolation or living in unsafe environments and set up regular calls to check-in.
“Some of our clients have asked us to call them regularly. They are happy to have their phone ring with someone calling to check on them, to see how they’re doing. Some of them say there is no one else for them to talk to, they feel so isolated and afraid,” says Nazreth. “There’s a lot of collaboration with other YSM departments. We work together to make sure the community members are cared for, safe and have the resources they need.”
“The work YSM’s supporters and donors allow us to do, is saving lives – it really is. It’s about safety and giving someone hope for the future and the tools needed to make it to that future.”
Learn more about YSM’s mental health counselling services here.