JFCS recognized teens were struggling with their mental health and needed support. To make sure those aged 12-22 had a an option for free support, UpStreet was created.
UpStreet is a teen mental wellness program that offers drop-in consultations with therapists, scheduled therapy appointments, text-based peer support, and support groups for teens. UpStreet’s services are currently accessed using the chat bot located at the bottom of the page.
UpStreet aims to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health support, to avoid escalation of symptoms to a crisis stage, and enhance teens’ quality of life.
Since our inception, over 800 teens reached out to us. At that point, we knew our model worked and we’ve been at it ever since.
We have experts behind the wheel
Erin Barr, LCSW
JFCS Director of Youth Services
Erin has worked at JFCS since 2003, starting as a Foster Care / Adoption Caseworker where she worked with youth of all ages and their families around issues of loss, trauma, identity and permanence. Next, she moved to the Career Development Center where she served as a social worker for a job-readiness program for young people aging out of the foster care system and then as a program specialist for after school programs.
Alliyah Kimbrough, MSW
Adolescent and Young Adult Psychotherapist
Alliyah began her career working with children who experienced difficulties expressing their emotions. During graduate school Alliyah witnessed and learned about childhood trauma and how it impacts people into adolescence and adulthood, Alliyah dedicated herself to getting her Masters degree in Social Work.
Shelby Williams, LSW
Adolescent and Young Adult Psychotherapist
Shelby just joined the JFCS team in April. She has a Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Licensed Social Worker. While getting her master’s, she received a certificate in Mental Health. Shelby started as a counselor and advocate with Crisis Center North and Allegheny Health Network where she worked individuals experiencing domestic violence.
Stephanie Rodriguez, MS
Adolescent and Teen Psychotherapist
Stephanie is in her second year working for JFCS. She started as the behavioral therapist for the Jewish Day Schools in Squirrel Hill where she worked with the students, teachers and administrators. She provided support to ensure students have successful experiences in school. Stephanie also has experience as a teacher and swim coach.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes UpStreet special?
At UpStreet, you don’t need an appointment to get support. Anyone between the ages of 12 and 22 can “drop-in” for support using the UpStreet live chat located on our website. You can also make an appointment with one of our UpStreet therapists who get what it’s like to be a young adult in the world today. Not necessarily looking for therapy, but want to explore wellness activities? UpStreet has groups that you can join for free! UpStreet is the place to find the support you need to feel better today as well as tomorrow.
Who can use UpStreet?
Anyone between the ages of 12 and 22. Parents can also use the website to chat with a counselor to discuss parenting challenges or concerns.
Do I need my parents permission to talk to someone?
You don’t! Anyone between the ages of 12 and 22 can chat with a supportive, trained adult through the UpStreet live chat on our website.
If you decide you want to have regular appointments with a therapist, UpStreet doesn’t have to bill insurance. This makes it easy for you to get support for yourself, without having to navigate insurance hassles
What is “barrier free services”?
You don’t need an appointment, you don’t need money, you don’t need insurance, you don’t need a ride (because we’re all virtual for now), and you may not even need help from an adult. We want you to get the help you need without anything standing in your way.
Is the live chat a substitute for one-on-one therapy?
Our live chat provides you with confidential, in-the-moment support. Maybe your relationships aren’t going the way you’d like, or school is just too much, or you just feel crappy — we are there to help you through those moments. We’ll listen and help you come up with some short-term ways to get you through the tough spots in your daily life.
One-one-one therapy is there for the bigger stuff. Maybe you’ve been feeling sad for what feels like forever, or maybe you can’t focus or feel happy like you used to in the past, no matter how hard you try. Our therapists are there for you one-on-one, even in the virtual world.
If you’re not sure what you need, hop on our live chat! We can help you figure out which kind of support will be the most helpful for you.
Who will I be talking to on the live chat?
The UpStreet live chat is people-powered by experienced mental health professionals who care about you. We are here to help whether you’re at home, on the bus, or at school – this allows you to get support wherever you are, whenever you need it.
Is my privacy protected and is UpStreet secure?
Yes. Everything that you chat about is kept confidential. We only ask for a name, email address or phone number on our live chat –never a social security number, birthdate or any other secure information. For UpStreet therapy clients, your information is always protected in compliance with all the laws of Pennsylvania (where UpStreet is located).
Do I need special software to use UpStreet?
Not to use our live chat! Any device with internet access can get you support. If you want therapy, you will need some type of video chat software. We use Zoom or Google Meets most often.
Can I use UpStreet anonymously?
Yes. Our live chat can be anonymous if you’d like. We will ask you for your first name because we like to know who we are talking to, as well as your email or telephone number, so we can get back in touch with you. But if you prefer total anonymity, you can just let us know.
What kinds of things can I talk about on the live chat?
Typical things people chat about include relationships, friendships, home life, loneliness, school struggles, stress, the pandemic – you name it! UpStreet is not a crisis line. If you are feeling like you are going to hurt yourself or someone else please call Re:solve (Allegheny County) (888) 796-8226 or the National Suicide Lifeline Chat. They’re the experts at this kind of help – and you deserve the best help there is!
What does UpStreet cost?
There is no fee for using our live chat. Any other fees for services, like therapy, are arranged on a case by case basis. UpStreet won’t let cost be a barrier to getting you the help you need!