Meeting Critical Needs in New Ways | Winter Impact Newsletter 2021

Last updated: February 24, 2021, at 10:13 a.m. PT

Originally published: February 10, 2021, at 3:01 p.m. PT

winter newsletter

Since the first shutdown last March, instances of depression, anxiety, overdose, and suicide ideations skyrocketed in all people. Young people who were homeless or in precarious housing became much more vulnerable. The social interactions and support we once relied on vanished and were replaced by isolation and social distancing.  

The Y Social Impact Center quickly pivoted all our services to best meet the evolving needs of those we serve. You made these nimble changes possible.  

Mental Health Expansion for All  

To meet the growing need, the Y Social Impact Center got to work expanding access for the critical care our community needs.  

The Y has been a trusted provider of behavioral health services to teens and young adults since 1973. This winter, we expanded our services to children, adults, and seniors to meet the growing need for care during the pandemic. Now, behavioral health services are available to all Y members and community members. Through tele-health and safer, COVID-compliant, in-person meetings, Y counselors helped hundreds of kids and young adults cope and even thrive during the pandemic.  

This ongoing support, especially through the pandemic, has led to reduced rates of substance use and greater management of anxiety, depression, and boredom. It is with the help of our donors and community partners that we change lives and communities for good.  

Suicide Prevention 

In King County, suicide is the leading cause of death of young people between the ages of 10-25. Additionally, the number of people reporting symptoms indicative of major depression increased 52 percent among 12 to 17-year-olds and 63 percent among 18 to 25-year-olds over the last 12 years. 

We’re hard at work to reverse this devastating trend. This winter, with greater need than ever before, we introduced ongoing Suicide Prevention Webinars to help parents, caregivers, and community members see the signs and use tools to help prevent suicide. These webinars address stigmas, misconceptions of suicide, the public perception of mental illness, the complexity of suicide, who is susceptible to depression and suicide to destigmatize and prevent suicide. 

Opening Arcadia, Roy St, and Arlington Drive  to Provide Housing Young People in a Crisis 

The greater Seattle community continues to experience one of the highest rates of homelessness in the nation. Data shows that the homeless population includes many school-age children, young adults and families and is growing in size and geographic distribution. Additionally, people of color are disproportionately experiencing homelessness.  

Every day, the Y houses about 490 young people across our region. The pandemic made our work more critical and difficult to provide so we pivot swiftly to offer extended day shelter for youth at the Downtown YMCA in partnership with New Horizons. (Watch video) 

On June 16, 2020, we celebrated the grand opening of Arcadia, the first housing and shelter program in South King County offering wraparound services for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. We opened as soon as we could to help young people displaced by the pandemic and now serve 27 young people every day in the building and serve over 490 young adults through our housing and homelessness services on any given night.  

In September of 2020, the YMCA partnered with local community members to open Roy Street, a transitional housing facility in Capitol Hill for young adults to have stable housing so they can focus on success and not where to sleep. 

In the Fall of 2020, we opened Arlington Drive in partnership with Tacoma Housing, and Roy Street Commons to provide transitional housing for young adults. (Watch Video) 

Thanks to your continued support, the Y continues to provide shelter and wraparound services to ensure that the youth and youth adults in our care with never return with homelessness. 

Watch Arcadia Opening