Helping Young People Find Their Way

I woke up and had this great realization, “I don’t want to let my struggle with depression and anger define me anymore.”
-Dante De Jesus, Participant

Last year, Vibrant helped


Youths received services through Vibrant's Adolescent, Child and Family programs

Vibrant’s programs for youth and adolescents offer support, tools, and skills they need to heal and thrive.

It was summer 2021, nearly two years after I had begun counseling and therapy with Vibrant’s Child and Adolescent Coordination Program. I was in Pennsylvania for the weekend, far from my family and friends in Manhattan, and had a chance to really reflect. It was like a great awakening washed over me. I suddenly felt strong enough to fully commit to my healing journey. 

It had been a long and difficult road up to this point. For years, I struggled with anger and depression. I dwelled on the hardships I had faced -- death, the loss of friendships, and most recently, how the global pandemic stole normal life away. I lacked motivation and goals for my future. 

My perspective on life took a positive turn when my Mom connected me to Johana, a Vibrant case manager. She helped me learn how to access joy, hope and a new perspective -- emotions I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Johana was my biggest cheerleader and also my greatest coach. She helped me set goals for my professional future, as well as my mental well-being. Through our weekly virtual counseling sessions, I came to understand that there is beauty in my imperfections, and there are always lessons in failure. In fact, making mistakes is really the best way any of us can learn. 

With Johana’s help, I achieved my ultimate goal -- graduating high school. I just had to dig deep to access a belief in myself that had been buried for far too long. It’s like my idol, the wrestling champion, John Cena, once famously said, “You never give up, you pick yourself up, you brush yourself off, you get up and move on and overcome.” Thanks to my work with Vibrant, I fully embrace that sentiment, and see a bright future ahead.

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Delivering Immediate Support,
Anytime &Anywhere

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When the pandemic began, NYC Well, New York City's flagship go-to-resource for confidential mental health support, crisis intervention, and connection to services, had just five days to shift more than 100 crisis counselors to remote work, all while continuing to provide this lifesaving service. Katherine Polanco, Operations Manager for NYC Well, tells us how she and the counselors adapted to meet the needs of her staff, and the people they serve, practically overnight.

March 2020 was the beginning of the pandemic and New York City was at the epicenter of the global crisis. There was so much fear on the streets, in homes and across offices. No one knew what was coming and what impact it would have on all our lives. This was the backdrop NYC Well operated under in the early days of the pandemic. As New York City’s free, comprehensive crisis and support line administered by Vibrant, we knew we had to move our team to an all-virtual work environment, and it had to happen fast. We couldn’t afford to not deliver our essential services.

Over the course of just five head-spinning days in mid-March, our IT and HR departments worked around the clock preparing to transition our 100 hotline counselors into a remote workforce. This included procuring and setting up hundreds of additional headsets, computer monitors, and laptops. Our counselors remained committed to meeting the growing needs of New Yorkers, taking calls from the office until they received the necessary supplies to work remotely. And in a city where most people don’t have cars, they had to be creative to transport their devices home. I’ll never forget watching several of them pack a laptop into a backpack, a computer monitor in one hand, as they headed out the door to the subway. Their commitment ensured the hotline could respond to the spike in call volume caused by the threat of COVID-19.

As the pandemic continues, so too does the overwhelming need for NYC Well’s emotional health services. We have responded by tripling our staff, from 100 to more than 200 crisis counselors. Being able to meet the increased demand for our services has been gratifying. Our counselors are providing support to New Yorkers in emotional distress and helping people find the resources they need. This has never been more important than during this time. The counselors are the mental health heroes of this pandemic.

While this has been an intense and challenging chapter for everyone. I am proud of how our team adapted, without interrupting the support we provide to New Yorkers. We have demonstrated what we always say -- that NYC Well is here for you, no matter the time of day or the crisis you are facing. We show up for you and we give you our all.