In this issue: New helpline number launched; staff kudos and Pat’s Chat.

There’s now a three-digit dialing code in the United States for people of all ages in mental health crisis. Modeled after 911, the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers 24/7 access to trained counselors who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress. Critically, this includes youth because barriers to mental health care and the prevalence of suicide among young people is a frightening crisis in our country.

In St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County, youth and families can also call the Youth Connection Helpline at 314-819-8802 to access crisis and referral help 24/7. Youth In Need’s school- and community-based counseling services are another resource for youth experiencing crisis. Providing free professional mental health support to children and youth of all ages at community locations and schools throughout St. Louis, St. Charles and Lincoln County, Youth In Need partners with clients to explore and use their abilities, coping skills and resilience, as well as their external resources, to discover their strengths and solve the issues they face. To learn more about Youth In Need’s counseling services, visit

People can call 988 or chat at for themselves or if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. 988 serves as a universal entry point so that no matter where you live in the United States, you can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of more than 200 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices.

The U.S. youth suicide rate has risen more than 50 percent since 2007, and since 2019, suicide has been ranked the second leading cause of death among youth, ages 10 to 24. For youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and for LGBTQ+ youth, the rate is even higher. It’s estimated that for every suicide death, there may be as many as 200 attempts. One out of eight (12 percent) middle school students have seriously considered suicide, while nine percent planned a suicide and six percent attempted. Isolation and lack of social support, trauma and abuse, and lack of access to mental health resources are all contributing factors. Social media and screen time also are thought to increase anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation and lack of sleep—all of which exacerbate suicide risk.


Kudos to Demetria Lightfoot and Carrie Williams, two Youth In Need staff who are doing great things in their fields!

Demetria Lightfoot, Director of Philanthropy, was named to the Regional Business Council’s Leadership 100 this month. Each year, 100 young professionals are recognized to be a part of the Young Professionals Network Leadership 100 cohort because of their demonstrated leadership and service to the community. Demetria has been working in development in the social justice field for more than a decade. She is Board President for St. Martin’s Child Center, a mentor with Nonprofit Marketers Network and a Board member and mentor at The Sophia Project. Demetria also is an alum of Focus St. Louis Emerging Leaders Program and Vision St. Charles County Leadership. As a member of Leadership 100, Demetria and her colleagues will participate in unique professional, cultural and community service experiences in St. Louis.

Carrie Williams, Health Manager in our Early Learning Program (ELP), recently completed the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Head Start Management Fellows Program. Carrie was one of 40 Head Start professionals from across the country to complete one of this summer’s intensive two-week sessions. Carrie focused her Management Improvement Project (MIP) on the health services in Youth In Need’s ELP. The MIP allows participants to immediately translate the UCLA program curriculum to improve performance at their own organizations. It identifies and addresses an organizational weakness or external opportunity through the development of a strategic plan for tackling an issue. For Carrie, the MIP included revising data collection and tracking processes to help identify trends, challenges and solutions more quickly related to children’s access to health care. Because this analysis and improvement structure can be applied to any problem, Carrie will be training the ELP management team on the process so they can incorporate it into their strategic planning.

Pat’s Chat: What’s Your “Why?”

Every role is vital to Youth In Need’s mission and vision. Our backgrounds and experiences are unique, yet we have a shared purpose that unites us and gives our work meaning and value.


  • Form deep connections with our clients and each other.
  • Partner with kids and families during significant times of their lives.
  • Help clients learn that they are capable and they belong.
  • Hold space and hope for those in deep pain so they can heal.
  • Nurture growth and development and potential, in our clients . . . and in ourselves
  • Stand for justice, and equity and inclusion.
  • Connect with our colleagues and bond over shared experiences.
  • Affirm each other’s truths, and appreciate the gifts and talents that each of us brings.
  • Appreciate the generous support from so many who contribute their time, talent and treasure, just because they care.
  • Become better human beings because of what we learn and experience at Youth In Need.

Thank you for bringing your best self to Youth In Need.  It makes all the difference in the world.

“Work is love made visible.”  – Kalil Gibran

Find your “why” at Youth In Need. Explore our open positions.