How Free Therapy Benefits NYC Teens

How Free Therapy Benefits NYC Teens

How Free Therapy Benefits NYC Teens

Six months since the city started offering free therapy to all teens, real teenagers are opening up about their experience with NYC Teenspace.

Have you heard about NYC Teenspace? This program from the Department of Health, powered by Talkspace, offers free therapy to any New York City teenager 13-17, regardless of income or where they attend school. 

To sign up, teens simply enter their age and NYC address then answer a few questions about how they’re feeling. They’ll be paired with a New York-licensed therapist for one-on-one support through unlimited messaging therapy and one live virtual session (through video, audio, or live chat) per month.

What real NYC teens have to say

Since NYC Teenspace launched in November, thousands of teenagers have begun receiving therapy through the program. The top challenges the NY teens have been looking to address include feelings of depression, wanting to be their best selves, addressing anxiety, and handling specific challenges at home or at school.  As you can see, teen therapy is beneficial for a range of reasons, whether a teen has symptoms of a mental health condition like depression or anxiety, or simply wants support navigating normal (but potentially stressful) day-to-day life as a city teenager.

Here’s what a few participants in the NYC Teenspace program have to say about their experience:

“As a New York City teen you go through so much, from your school to your life, to your relationships. So the emotional support that therapy gives definitely helps.” — Md, 17

“They’re here to help you, not to tell you what’s wrong or tell you what you should do. They’re here to help guide you.” — Ruby, 17

“When I talk to my therapist I’m able to tell him things that I don’t really want to tell my mom, because I don’t want her to be upset. I’m able to tell him some of the things I overthink about and let them go.” — Julie, 13

“Talkspace is always going to be there. There’s always someone on the other end, so I would definitely recommend it.” — Rory, 17

Why online therapy works for teens

If online therapy is new to you, you might be skeptical that it could work as well as traditional, face-to-face therapy, for your teen. While virtual therapy, and especially messaging therapy, is relatively new, significant scientific evidence supports that it works. In a published study on messaging therapy, 70% of participants experienced significant improvement in symptoms of depression or anxiety within 12 weeks, and 50% saw their symptoms resolve entirely. In another study, 80% of participants reported that virtual therapy was as effective or more so than traditional face-to-face therapy.

Teens in particular appreciate messaging therapy because texting is the preferred mode of communication for many. During asynchronous aka “messaging” therapy a teen can send their therapist text, voice, or video messages about what they’re going through or what’s on their mind, and their therapist replies with questions or words of support. This allows the teen to express their feelings in the moment, from their phones or computers, and being able get things off their chest in this way can be therapeutic in itself. NYC Teenspace virtual therapy also includes scheduled monthly live sessions, which take place over video, audio, or live chat, depending on the teen’s preference.

Of the teens who have participated in NYC Teenspace so far, 65% of those who complete follow-up surveys report significant improvement in their moods or in the mental health challenges they were experiencing. Importantly, many if not most of these teens would not have had access to therapy were it not for the program, because logistical, financial, or other barriers prevented it.  

Learn more and sign up for NYC Teenspace today


Pssst…. Mental Health Support Created for NYC Teens