The willingness and ability to adapt to challenging circumstances is how Vibrant has always approached its work. We are driven by a greater purpose: To create an environment where everyone can achieve emotional wellbeing with dignity and respect.
To say 2020 was an atypical year, is an understatement at best. COVID-19, weather events, racial injustices and the political climate forced everyone to make challenging, yet necessary decisions and engage in difficult discussions. And yet, we adapted. The staff of Vibrant and the people we serve, showed incredible resiliency, personal strength and community support.
As the pandemic reached New York City, we shifted nearly our entire workforce to a remote environment almost overnight. Our incredible IT, Operations and HR teams procured and distributed equipment to our staff, ensuring their essential work of providing support to people in crisis was uninterrupted. For those whose support required in-person care, the team at Vibrant donned their face masks and bravely continued their field work to ensure that every individual and family was taken care when they needed it most.
Many of our frontline staff -- our hotline counselors, family advocates, and care managers -- were directly impacted by the pandemic. Yet they continued to deliver the same quality services for which we are known. We are grateful for their perseverance, and amazed at their courage. They are true emotional wellness heroes.
Support from donors and partners like you have enabled us to weather the immediate crisis while continuing to meet long standing needs. It has also allowed us to scale up and innovate so we can provide emotional support to even more people. When volume increased on the Disaster Distress Helpline and NYC Well during the height of the pandemic, we adapted with expanded capacity to meet the growing need. With more people seeking help online than ever before, Vibrant's groundbreaking digital Safe Space, which launched in early 2020, was a lifeline for people in crisis this past year.
Vibrant finished the year celebrating a major victory for emotional wellness -- the Federal Communications Commission designated a new, nationwide, three-digit number – 988 – for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which, once implemented in 2022, will make it far easier for Americans in emotional distress to get immediate, person-centered mental health support and connection to care. Not only will a three-digit number increase the number of people we can help, it will reduce the burden on our nation's 911 system, which is not designed to handle mental health emergencies. We look forward to achieving the promise of 988 - high-quality crisis support available for everyone, anytime, anywhere.Our collective resilience has made these accomplishments possible. And with your ongoing support, we will continue to build resiliency and adapt to change; propelling us one step closer to emotional wellbeing for all.
Kim Williams and Jennifer Ashley