Welcome Letter

Kim Williams, President & CEO (top)
Jennifer Ashley, PhD, Board Chair

Over the past year, the ongoing pandemic and its health, mental health, social and economic effects have amplified existing societal inequities, laying bare that the barriers to accessing care are not the same for everyone.

That’s why Vibrant has prioritized creating access to services and supports for those who most need our help.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with our planning for 988, the new three-digit access code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which will become universally available in July 2022. 988 will make it far easier for Americans in emotional crisis to access care, when, where and how they need it. Vibrant is honored to continue to serve as the administrators of the Lifeline, particularly as it transitions to 988, an easy to remember dialing code. But, the switch to 988 is more than a number change. It represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform how mental health crisis support is accessed and delivered to people in emotional distress. This past year, support from generous donors and partners like you helped us make 988 planning investments, including awarding state planning grants, which will be the cornerstone for our capacity building efforts during the next year.

Vibrant also created access by expanding capacity on our other state-of-the-art, multi-channel helplines including the Disaster Distress Helpline, Veterans Crisis Line, and NYC Well, enabling us to reach thousands more people in emotional distress on a daily basis.

Being on the frontlines of the pandemic took a great emotional toll on essential workers. Vibrant ensured they could access the support they needed through virtual training sessions, tailored helplines, and immediate crisis support delivered by our growing volunteer-driven Crisis Emotional Care Team.

Our ability to create access would not have been possible without our dedicated and talented staff who ensured our community-based and virtual services were available to everyone who needed them, all without missing a beat.
Equitable access to emotional health resources is essential to building a society in which each person can achieve emotional wellbeing. We are able to strive towards that 24/7, 365 days a year thanks to support from people like you.

As we embark on this once-in-a-generation transformation to 988, we hope you will help us continue to create access for everyone.


Jennifer Ashley &
Board Chair
Kim Williams
President and CEO
Start Annual Report

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.