Helping Frontline Workers Build
Emotional Resilience

“The New York Community Trust makes grants to thousands of nonprofits every year. There are very few with Vibrant’s scale, reach, and competence to address the emotional health care needs of New Yorkers during a prolonged crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”

-Irfan Hasan



from over 60 organizations received emotional support training.

In partnership with numerous public and private organizations, Vibrant develops tailored mental health programming and training to meet the emotional wellness needs of communities.

Irfan Hasan
Deputy Vice President for Grants
The New York Community Trust

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As the Deputy Vice President for Grants at The New York City Community Trust, the community foundation for New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, I am proud of The Trust’s support of Vibrant’s work for close to three decades.  It has been personally gratifying to have supported Vibrant’s efforts on the frontlines of the September 11th attacks, the Great Recession of 2008, Superstorm Sandy--and, now, COVID-19. Vibrant has unparalleled reach, knowledge and capacity among New York’s behavioral health sector.

When the pandemic struck, The Trust responded with a range of grants, providing support to nonprofits offering food, shelter, or personal protective equipment to New Yorkers in crisis. But we also recognized how much we needed to help the helpers. New York City’s frontline health and human service providers were coping with so much uncertainty, grief, and trauma. The Trust was confident that Vibrant could deliver resources and support to help these frontline workers stay in balance and build resilience.

With our grant, Vibrant launched an online training series to boost a frontline worker’s skills and tool set to help themselves and the people they care for cope with emotional health issues brought on or exacerbated by the pandemic. Best of all, all of the modules are accessible anytime and anywhere--from home, on a phone, or at work.

Vibrant’s virtual trainings have helped hundreds of health and human service workers gain access to invaluable emotional health resources. Together, we’ve put the health and wellness of our frontline heroes front and center, sustaining them during this unprecedented time.

Vibrant is grateful for the generous support of The New York Community Trust and The New York State Health Foundation to support the emotional health of frontline health and human service workers in the wake of COVID-19.

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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.