A recent report by America’s Promise Alliance states that more than 1 in 4 youth ages 13-19 reported an increase in losing sleep because of worry, feeling unhappy or depressed, feeling constantly under strain, or experiencing a loss of confidence in themselves due to the pandemic.
East Bay Community Counseling Clinical Director Jessica Johnson confirms there has been a large influx of TAY youth (ages 14-24) being referred by Alameda County for mental health services. Johnson says her team is treating a lot of youth for general anxiety, social anxiety, depression, and PTSD. “The disruption to daily routines and sleep schedules coupled with extreme social isolation exacerbated existing mental health challenges for youth or created new ones,” she says.
In addition to helping youth in the community through referrals from Alameda County, East Bay Community Counseling is also deeply embedded in Side by Side’s Real Alternatives and Our Space programs, offering an integrated approach to serve vulnerable youth who otherwise might not have access to these vital services.
Real Alternatives has been providing transitional housing services to current and former foster and probation youth for over 20 years. Each youth who enters the program is provided with a clinical case manager and a youth specialist (a highly trained staff member who helps youth learn independent living skills such as how to budget, pay bills, cook, live with roommates, and maintain employment). In addition to this core team, it was clear early on that many Real Alternatives youth would greatly benefit from additional mental health services.