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Every year on the 10th September, we stop and recognise World Suicide Prevention Day with the aim to challenge the social stigma around mental health, and raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention around the globe. In New Zealand, the high rate of youth suicide is well documented, and most recently, the Unicef Innocenti report card indicates we have the second highest rate in the developed world. It is a complex and challenging issue.

And now, as we navigate through the pandemic with increased stress on all our lives, the importance of our mental health and wellness is heightened. Even more so, we need to have open conversations and acknowledge the importance of health and wellbeing in New Zealand.

Working with Youthline

Youthline supports young people, their families and those supporting young people to ensure young people know where to get help and access support to learn and grow when they need it. This may include support with issues such as bullying, mental health or dealing with the many other pressures of everyday life, through counselling services, mentoring, seminars, workshops and programmes. Youthline is at the frontline of supporting New Zealand’s young has seen a surge in demand during COVID-19, with a 58% increase in the number of incoming texts and 90% increase in number of care and protection incident reports (compared to the daily average in 2019).

Advancing digital capability can make all the difference to help organisations such as Youthline connect with those requesting their services. Cisco recently shared our renewed purpose which is to power an inclusive future for all and during the pandemic has increased the global Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) fund to support organisations on the frontline, and it was at this time we recognised Youthline would benefit from Cisco’s collaboration and secure connectivity technology. We accessed Cisco’s CDA fund, to help make a real difference to the important Youthline services.

Impact of technology to scale connections

Cisco’s technology is being used to help Youthline become more resilient and scalable, digitising their operations further so they can deliver services to change lives for the better. Support includes expanding Cisco Webex and integrating Cisco’s cloud based Contact Centre technology, which enables Youthline to effectively manage incoming calls. This means Youthline can receive more calls, without impacting the quality of their connection – which is so important on a video call. The updates to Youthline’s back-end systems and infrastructure will support their continued growth and bring them into the digital era and also provide real-time insights.

Cisco has actively partnered and supported the work of Youthline for a number of years and I know our team is extremely proud to provide Youthline with the latest technology to enhance their life-changing services. Accelerating the adoption of technology in ways that benefit citizens, business and the country and supporting the community is a key part of Cisco’s Country Impact plan.

We are thinking of all those families and friends who have been impacted by mental health, and recognise the importance of organisations such as Youthline in supporting New Zealand’s young people. You can support the important work of Youthline here.