BY MICHELLE SPEAS, VICE PRESIDENT, PHILANTHROPY AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
After more than a year of pandemic stress and uncertainty, it’s natural to grasp on to hope if given the chance.
Vaccine availability is rising, the weather is warming, and many of us are ﬁnding that our lives almost have a normal rhythm.
But for many in our community, the arrival of spring offers little in the way of emotional rejuvenation. In fact, far too many people continue to suffer increased levels of anxiety, often made worse by feelings of inadequacy, as they are unable to join others in seasonal optimism.
This is why counseling calls to Family Services have surged during the pandemic—in March alone calls were about three times our pre-pandemic average. We are receiving urgent requests for help from people facing domestic violence and sexual assault. And our counseling services are in high demand, as many in our community feel more isolated and at risk than ever before.
In this wave of reaching out, we are hearing from many ﬁrst-time callers. Overwhelmed healthcare workers, distressed teachers, and perhaps most striking, teenagers and children who are suffering from anxiety, depression, and a sense of hopelessness.
We are hearing a common refrain from many people as they confront debilitating, but vague depression: “I’m not sure how to ask for help. I’m not sure what I need. But I’m struggling.”
Another tragic consequence for the most vulnerable among us is the decrease in funding for these services. Normally paid for through an allocation of court fees, this stream of critical support has dried up substantially, as there are fewer cases going to trial, due to social distancing protocols.
Today, we ask you to support the essential work of Family Services as we respond to an increased need for assistance throughout our community. We are here and ready to help anyone and everyone who needs us, providing support, relief, and solutions 24/7.
Make your donation by June 30th and you can double the impact of your generosity, thanks to a $25,000 matching gift donation by a longtime supporter who recognizes the urgency of this moment in our community.
As always, thank you for giving generously to Family Services, so we may continue to help build—and sometimes rebuild—strong families during a time that is challenging for us all.
Vice President, Philanthropy and Public Relations
One year into the pandemic:
- 56% average monthly increase in calls for help by
- 143% increase in March 2021— highest volume of calls for counseling in our history
- 20 children on a wait list for counseling—highest number in a decade