be_ixf;ym_202107 d_28; ct_50 Learn more about City Year’s response to COVID-19

Resources to support the mental health and well-being of our corps

Bulletin board with inspirational and positive notes.

Our AmeriCorps members serve long, rewarding, often challenging, days in schools. Being present for students day-in and day-out—on top of managing life outside of service—is hard under normal circumstances, let alone a global pandemic.

Our goal is to ensure that every corps member is in a position to lead a healthy life with purpose—keeping in mind that corps members who feel supported will be better equipped to support their students and their teammates.

Supporting our City Year AmeriCorps members

Since we know that supporting corps mental health and well-being is complex and does not have a singular, straightforward solution, we’re committed to identifying thoughtful and creative ways to address this vital need.

“Empathy is a core value of City Year and is a quality exemplified every day by our AmeriCorps members,” says Alexandra Allen, senior vice president of AmeriCorps member experience. “At this uncertain time, we want all of our corps to know that we care about them and their experience as members of our community, and that there are different kinds of support available to them as they experience this pandemic.”

cursor arrow

Check out this video that shows how City Year AmeriCorps members are supporting students and each other during the pandemic through virtual service.

In recognition of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re highlighting four resources we are currently providing to our corps to help them have a balanced and healthy service experience and effectively navigate the increased anxiety, grief and fear many people are experiencing during COVID-19.

Talkspace

Regular therapy has been shown to be one of the most important contributors to positive well-being, but as AmeriCorps members, we know it may be difficult to fold it into your life, especially with the schedule and structure of a service year on a team, in schools and working with students. City Year has a partnership with Talkspace, an online therapy platform that makes it simple and convenient to connect with fully licensed, respected therapists via video, text or phone, to provide AmeriCorps members with three free months of services. Currently serving AmeriCorps members may access this benefit at any point during their service. AmeriCorps members can use the Talkspace benefit with the knowledge that it is secure and confidential.

red jacket

Learn about the benefits and resources City Year AmeriCorps members receive during service.

Ten Percent Happier

With the advent of COVID-19 last spring, City Year teamed up with Ten Percent Happier—a meditation app that features a wealth of resources delivered by the world’s most qualified teachers designed for newcomers to meditation and those with more experience—to provide a free subscription to all currently serving AmeriCorps members and City Year staff.  Numerous studies have found that taking time to breathe, focus your attention on the present moment and release negative thoughts has positive mental and physical health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety and boosting resilience and a sense of calm.

But some people find the thought of meditating to be intimidating.

The Ten Percent Happier app offers over a dozen courses and 350+ guided meditations on topics ranging from the basics of mindfulness, stress and compassion, to practical tools for responding to our emotions; short talks to listen to while on the go, and an extensive section to help with getting a restful night of sleep.

The app also has a special “Coronavirus Sanity Guide,” to help support well-being during these challenging times that includes Ten Percent Happier Live, free meditations, podcasts and talks. The guide features practical and actionable strategies for coping with stress, fear, anxiety and cultivating resilience.

Additional Training

During these trying times, we want to ensure that our AmeriCorps members have access to tools and resources to show up for both one another and themselves in a meaningful way. In our growing collaboration with Active Minds—a leading nonprofit working to “change the conversation about mental health” among today’s young adults—City Year is training corps members and their managers on their V-A-R, or Validate, Appreciate, Refer approach. V-A-R is a guide for how to thoughtfully listen to and support the people we interact with every day. It emphasizes the idea that “you do not need to be in crisis to seek help” and, conversely, “you do not need to be an expert” to provide support—it’s more focused on how to show up for someone in a time of need.

Supportlinc

City Year’s employee assistance program is available 24/7/365 to all AmeriCorps members through the SupportLinc hotline, website and app. SupportLinc can provide referrals and counseling related to anxiety, depression, stress, financial assistance, legal assistance and life concierge assistance (such as dependent care, auto care, pet care and home improvement).

The service offers a number of “on-demand” resources that cover a wide array of topics including: nutrition, grief and loss, effective communication, anger management, personal growth and mindfulness.

Learn more about the benefits of serving with City Year:

Learn more

Editorial note: This post was originally published in May 2020. It has been updated and revised to ensure information is current.  

Related stories

Throughout the pandemic, City Year’s Network for School Improvement has helped educators find new ways to prioritize the well-being of...

Read more about Advancing educational equity with the Network for School Improvement during COVID-19

“The structure of City Year is something that I try to bring into not only my classroom, but my personal...

Read more about Meet educator and City Year alum Bianca Lynch (Washington D.C. ’03)

When you’re living on an AmeriCorps stipend, every penny counts. To help you make the most of your bi-weekly stipend,...

Read more about 4 ways to stretch your AmeriCorps stipend

The challenges of COVID-19 showed how essential student success coaches can be. AmeriCorps members collaborated with teachers and communities to...

Read more about What the COVID-19 pandemic taught us about supporting students and practitioners
National Strategic Partners
  • AbbVie logo
  • AT&T logo
  • Comcast NBC/ Universal logo
  • CSX logo
  • Deloitte logo
  • New York Life Foundation logo
  • Red Nose Day logo
National Partners
  • Aramark logo
  • Bain Capital logo
  • Bank of America logo
  • Celanese logo
  • NFL Inspire Change logo
  • Santander logo
  • Taco Bell Foundation logo block for footer