Who we are

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KYDS is a community-based non-profit that has provided free, accessible mental health support to countless young people and their families since 2005. We ensure young people aged 10-18 can reach out for support without the need for a Medicare card, GP referral or mental health plan, delivering about 7500 counselling sessions annually.

Our unique service helps youth and families facing multicultural barriers, stigma, lack of parental support, transportation challenges and financial constraints to access counselling support. We also increasingly work with the ‘forgotten middle’ – young people who have been referred from other services due to the complexity of their need for support, but do not require the level of care provided by organisations like the Child and Youth Mental Health Service.

We collaborate with other local youth mental health services and community organisations such as Lifeline, Headspace, StreetWork and Mission Australia to ensure young people receive the best possible care. With a focus on strengthening the quality of the therapeutic relationship, we draw on real time feedback from young people to improve our services, and capture comprehensive data and outcome measures, which show the effectiveness of our vital work.

KYDS relies on community support through fundraising, partnerships, community engagement activities and donations. We’re immensely grateful to those who help us empower and transform young lives in our community.

Our story

KYDS was born from a visionary mission of the Lindfield Rotary Club to combat the rising rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide among young people in Ku-ring-gai. The founders recognised the various obstacles that were preventing young people from seeking help and decided to create a local service to make it easier for them to get the support they needed.

In 2003, the Lindfield Rotary Club partnered with Ku-ring-gai Council and raised the funds required to establish KYDS (then called Ku-ring-gai Youth Development Service) – an accessible, confidential and free counselling service for children and young people. KYDS opened on 31 March 2005 with a single counsellor operating at the Lindfield Library and supported 36 young people in its first year.

Over the years KYDS has received invaluable support from various community sectors, enabling us to expand and meet the growing demand for our services. Today, our dedicated team provides support to more than 400 young people each year at various locations across Northern Sydney, including some high schools, delivering over 7500 counselling sessions annually. We remain committed to ensuring that young people can access barrier-free support when they need it.

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Hear from our CEO

Working with young people and families to make positive changes is an incredible privilege. This privilege is enhanced by KYDS’ unique approach – we offer free support tailored to each person’s needs. We listen to what young people want and work with them, their families and support networks for as long as they need us.

Our data analysis demonstrates the positive outcomes we achieve, but it’s seeing the impact on individual young lives that really drives us. We aim to help every young person who turns to KYDS to realise their value, understand themselves and others better, and build skills to handle life’s challenges – including the vital skill of seeking help when needed.

More and more young people are seeking support from KYDS early, which is really encouraging. But with growing demand and high levels of distress among young people, there’s more work to be done. Youth mental health affects us all, and we can all help. Spread the word about KYDS, follow us on social media, volunteer, fundraise or join our events. Most importantly, let young people know we’re here for them whenever they need support.

Dr Anthony Rigney
CEO/KYDS Clinician – Psychologist