Rabbi Zimmerman and Jteen founder Mr Yaakov Barr

Jteen celebrated their first anniversary with a dinner for all the volunteer counsellors and therapists and management.

Since its inception in January 2021, Jteen has quickly become an indispensable, sometimes lifesaving, service. Providing anonymous support to teenagers via text, Jteen has already handled over 2000 conversations with Jewish teens and over 90, 000 text messages have been exchanged between teens and counsellors.

The evening was a time to celebrate Jteen’s significant impact on the wellbeing of teenagers within the UK. Psychotherapist and founder of Jteen, Mr Yaakov Barr opened proceedings and praised the over sixty Jteen volunteer counsellors for their passion and commitment. “What a powerful message we are sending to the youth of our community, that in a world full of conflict, tension, unhappiness, and cynicism, adults of their community are totally committing themselves to the wellbeing of our youth.” He highlighted the tremendous feedback that schools, parents and teens themselves have given Jteen and emphasised that in the coming year the organisation is aiming to help many more teens access the service throughout the UK.

Jteen has already expanded into Belgium and Judy Parnes, a counsellor who has spearheaded this development flew in from Antwerp to represent the Belgium volunteer counsellors. Rabbi S.F Zimmerman, Head of the Federation Beis Din and Rabinical head of Jteen, praised the organisation as being vital in a world which is seeing a huge mental health crisis and the impact it is having on the teenage population. Rabbi Zimmerman emphasised the importance of Jteen and how young people now have a service where they can have the freedom to share their problems and burdens with the knowledge that they will be heard and understood.

Since it began, Jteen has been available to support teens with varying issues affecting their emotional wellbeing. The counsellors have helped teens struggling with such problems associated with friendships, anxiety, relationships with parents, self -harm, addiction, unhappiness, bullying, panic, loneliness, and abuse as well as many other concerns.

Jteen has established a school programme offering interactive assemblies and workshops on a range of topics and due to huge demand, will be extending the programme in the coming year. Jteen also provides emotional health awareness events for parents and over the last 12 months hosted talks from house-hold names in the field of parenting and education including Reb Peysach Krohn, Rabbi Malcolm Herman, and Mrs Judith Nemeth.
John Cameron OBE, the ex-head of Childline and NSPCC, has been instrumental in ensuring that the success of Jteen.

His involvement as safeguarding consultant and trainer, as well as offering regular supervision, was recognised by trustee Mr Avi Barr, who presented him with a gift and award recognising his huge role within Jteen. As Jteen’s manager, Riki Greenberg was thanked for the indispensable role she plays within the organisation and Michal Bookey was presented with the inaugural Jteen ‘volunteer of the year’ award.

Fellow trustee Eli Seliger noted that the evening was a big success, allowing everyone involved in the organisation to come together, and that future similar events are already being planned.