“You know what blows my mind? That YouthLine is manned by teens. That literally makes me feel overwhelmed with pride for those folks. Such strength and kindness!” says Jeffrey Immer, a Creative Director & Brand Strategist.
The YouthLine is ever-growing. In 2018 alone, YouthLine has connected to 13,000 youth who have reached out for support while in crisis, over 26,000 youth in classroom and community settings, and has grown from just 9 youth volunteers to over 85. With this wave of YouthLine’s impact across the state of Oregon, the face of the organization continues to evolve as well. We connected with two local Portland designers, Steven Sczepanik and Jeffrey Immer, to start a project that spoke to YouthLine’s mission to listen and support. Thus, a new shirt design was born.
Both Steven and Jeffrey noted that they have experienced their own mental health challenges over their lifetimes. “Throughout my life, I have dealt with different levels of depression and/or isolation. I believe that every individual, at some point in their life, confronts mental health struggles. We’re humans, it’s hard to avoid. We should all feel supported, especially our youth,” said Steven. This lived experience, a desire to help others, and and an understanding of the important work YouthLine does prompted a quick and easy “yes” to this project.
The YouthLine Team spoke to the designers to get some insight on the inspiration for the new design. Steven said, “We wanted to champion the quote ‘Let’s Talk’ and its powerful message. We were so inspired by the passion and dedication that YouthLine volunteers have for the work they do.” Jeffrey spoke to the theme and design portion that accompanies the message. “We had an idea to do something that felt 90’s and kind of wild. My main consideration was to make something that looked cool that youth would want to wear.”
What they have created has the potential to make an impactful reach to our youths. An engaging and creative design can be the key to start important conversations around mental health and wellness. The focus on this message is an invitation to start talking about YouthLine; with staff, volunteers, and community members as walking ambassadors for the mission and vision of YouthLine.
Not only will the new shirts be fun and engaging, but we aim to make a difference in the process. We want to spread the message of YouthLine beyond the organization. Every person that wears the shirt provides a message of hope and a safe space for others to talk about their struggles, as well as a place to reach out for support. Additionally, for every shirt that is sold, the money will be given back to YouthLine to expand their services.
Jeff spoke to the inspiration he felt about youth volunteers providing support to their peers via text, chat, phone, and email, “I think it shows the possibility of strength and courage. Not that we always have to be strong or courageous, but knowing that there is a fellow teen on the line willing to talk it out would make me feel like I can access the same well of strength that the volunteer is pulling from—that we’re in this together. It’s really powerful.”
We echo that notion. Each youth volunteer and staff make a huge impact in the lives of teens each day. We are so thankful to Steven and Jeffrey for using their skills and talents to aid in spreading the message of hope to others, and we are thrilled for the release of the special edition Youthline shirts. Simply and beautifully stated by Steven, “We should all feel supported and heard, especially our youth. I don’t think a t-shirt is going to save the day by any means, but it can at least open a dialogue about mental health struggles.”
Order yours today! Show your support with a Special Edition YouthLine shirt! Shipping discount provided for purchase of a Special Edition YouthLine shirt. Sizes available: XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL . Use the coupon code SHIP-$5 to receive discounted shipping on this item. https://www.theyouthline.org/materials/apparel/special-edition-youthline-shirt/
About the Designers
Jeffrey Immer lives in Portland, OR. Currently, he is working with Fort Wick on online magazine work and for Tillamook helping them with a big 2019 rebrand. Jeff loves working on projects that the public gets to see and enjoy.
Steven Sczepanik lives in Portland, OR. He has been in the design industry for 10+ years and more recently has been working alongside brilliant creatives at an agency called Instrument, a digital brand and experience company. As much as Steven loves to design in the digital space, he’s always thrilled to be given the opportunity to let loose and have fun with illustration work.
About the YouthLine
The Oregon YouthLine is a peer-to-peer youth crisis and support service. YouthLine operates a helpline that provides crisis support and referrals via phone, text, chat, and email. The helpline is answered by youth daily from 4pm-10pm and by adults at all other times.YouthLine also operates a peer-supported outreach program to de-stigmatize mental health challenges, increase awareness for mental health and wellness, and encourage youth to reach out for help.