Youthlife is a registered charity (NIC 105568) and a company limited by guarantee, governed by a Board of Directors.
As well as providing free 1:1 Counselling for 120 children each year, we run group work programmes for children and young people of different age groups and experiences. These programmes take place in schools, youth clubs, community venues and in our own centre on Bishop Street.
All our programmes are led by qualified Counsellors who all have specialist experience in working with children, teenagers and young adults. Trained facilitators work alongside our Counsellors, including young people who have themselves experienced bereavement and loss. Our Peer Mentors volunteer in support roles, working 1:1 with young people near their own age.
In addition to running programmes of support and 1:1 Counselling, the Youthlife Manager and staff members take part in networks, practitioner groups and communities of interest to do with young people’s wellbeing, counselling, family support and community development. We do this in order to raise awareness of the impact of bereavement and loss on young people’s emotional, social, educational and personal development, and to share with and learn from our colleagues.
Around 15% of the children and young people referred to us have been bereaved as a consequence of suicide. The suicide rate in Northern Ireland is now at its highest, and we know that early intervention and support for bereaved children is an effective means of suicide prevention for the next generation.
From small beginnings, the Youthlife organisation has grown into a vital resource for the wellbeing of children and young people in our community. Youthlife now receives over 200 referrals per year from GPs, Schools, Social Work Teams, Looked After Children’s Team, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team (CAMHS),a wide range of community support organisations, and of course from parents, relatives and carers of young people who need support after bereavement or loss.