By Ellen Sinclair -
Supporting tamariki, rangatahi and their whānau through tough times, Skylight has been providing counselling services for over 25 years for New Zealanders in challenging periods of life, covering issues such as grief, loss and trauma in order to build resilience.
Skylight is guided by the motto “The right help at the right time in the right way,” specialising in mental health counselling, wellbeing and resilience resources and programmes.
“Our focus is on building resilience and wellbeing, and providing easily accessible support,” says Skylight Chief Executive Anthony de Rose.
“We provide early intervention and much needed, but less advertised, early counselling services that help build resilience.”
Anthony says they receive many compliments from users of their services because of the quality of their counsellors, who are “known for their expertise and experience working with children".
“When people come to see our counsellors, they are confident that Skylight is the best place for them,” he says.
Skylight adapted their online services last year to accommodate for lockdowns and remote counselling. Anthony says the impact of the Covid pandemic saw a surge in inquiries for counselling and resources around anxiety.
It has especially affected younger, school-aged children the most, because of the challenges associated with prolonged online learning and the absence of social interactions with others, especially their peers.
“While we are constantly adding to our capacity, accessing our counselling services continues to be a challenge. Online interactions are not conducive to younger children, and they are the ones who are affected the most with the pandemic.”
Alongside counselling, Skylight has also created a Resilience Hub with more than 500 free resources and tools. Other recent initiatives include a counselling in schools programme, which worked with more than 2600 primary and secondary students in South Canterbury and Waikato, providing therapeutic intervention to address emotional and behavioural wellbeing in tamariki and rangatahi.
Skylight also partnered with Te Puni Kōkiri and Film for Change, creating a web series for suicide prevention. The web series featured rangatahi Māori sharing their own stories of experiencing loss due to suicide and what helped them through their experience.
Another initiative, The Skylight Travellers Programme, works to build resilience and key life skills for young people transitioning into high school. Covering confidence, self-esteem and connectedness, Travellers is an in-school programme that teaches skills to cope with change, loss, and transition.
As well as continuing all of this important mahi, Skylight will be continually expanding its services. Anthony says future plans include an increased presence in schools, online services to cater to rural New Zealand, support groups in school holidays, and other collaborative opportunities with iwi-based organisations.
Donations through The Good Registry contribute towards providing free counselling to vulnerable tamariki, rangatahi and whanau going through difficult times who cannot otherwise afford it, giving them the opportunity to build their resilience.