Lancet Psychiatry’s September Issue Highlights YouthLine’s Empowerment Model
Empowering young people is at the heart of what we do at YouthLine. Our programs are designed to elevate youth voices and equip youth with the tools and skills to manage their own well-being and offer help to others. Through coaching, youth-adult partnerships, peer support model, and more, we strive to offer our youth volunteers opportunities for growth that match their own goals.
A small group of YouthLine volunteers and staff teamed up recently to discuss in depth what youth mental health advocacy is all about — and what makes YouthLine so great at it. Together, the group explored YouthLine’s youth-adult partnerships model, hoping to influence how providers and policy-makers approach youth mental health promotion and suicide prevention.
The group identified a few key action steps for helpers of any age:
- setting boundaries
- asking for help
- being a role model
Additionally, the group provided the illustrative example below to describe how the YouthLine approach might work in practice:
Alex reaches out to their friend Sam to say that their grandmother recently passed away, and they are having a hard time. Sam is there for Alex, but is having trouble at school and feels preoccupied with their own frustration. Sam recognizes their own limits, but still wants to make sure Alex gets help. Sam recommends that Alex reach out to YouthLine to get more support. Alex at first feels embarrassed by the idea, but Sam reassures Alex that it’s important to ask for help when they need it, and shares that they have reached out before and felt much better after talking to YouthLine. With Sam’s encouragement, Alex connects with a YouthLine volunteer by text who talks through their feelings and helps Alex create a self care plan to cope with their grief. Sam texts Alex the next day to check in, and Alex is feeling better. Sam is glad to hear that someone from YouthLine will follow up to see how Alex is doing.