Northern Sydney Youth Services Collaboration
During a global pandemic and a youth suicide cluster, the youth services organisations of the Northern Sydney Region have found themselves challenged by a dramatic increase in demand for help from all major youth services.
It is reassuring to see that young people know how to ask for help when they need it
– this is what we want them to do.
We know that when help is accessed early, people of all ages find a way back to wellness faster.
This also means that the costs to them and to society will be less in the long term.
However, by late September the surge in demand for counselling, case management and mentoring services meant that in many cases young people in northern Sydney were waiting many weeks to be able to access ongoing support.
Government departments have responded to the request for help and the non-profits have dipped into cash reserves to increase staffing levels to reduce waiting lists as quickly as possible. Even with those efforts, there is more to be done. If immediate action is not taken, waiting periods will continue to increase. We want to ensure that young people are not put at risk while waiting in an unsupported way.
The youth services organisations are collaborating to raise funds to increase capacity to ensure that all vulnerable young people get the help they need when they need it.
Funds will be collected via a link to the Rotary Club of Wahroonga fundraising page, through this website. Rotary will then distribute funds to the project following the guidelines outlined in an MOU between the organisations.
How will funds be spent?
Funding will be spent to increase the safety and wellbeing of young people who are on waiting lists for 1:1 counselling, case management or mentoring support. This will be achieved by:
- Providing an online group program for young people who are waiting for 1:1 support
- Providing access to relevant workshops for parents of young people who are waiting for 1:1 support
- Establishing a care co-ordination function which will be responsible for proactively reaching out to all young people who are on waiting lists to ensure that they are aware of and able to access the supports available while they are waiting for 1:1 support. This function will also watch for emerging or escalating risks and connect the young person with more immediate support.
Please Help Us to Help Them
The youth services organisations are working hard to meet the need, but it is a sector under pressure. Some days our staff can feel a bit overwhelmed by the challenges we face. However, we also feel lucky that we live and work amongst a community that cares for each other. We know that individuals, private foundations, community groups and local businesses will be glad to have the opportunity to work together to overcome the feelings of helplessness and spread hope.