For Youth and Young Adults – Youth MOVE Virginia


What is Youth MOVE Virginia?

Youth MOVE Virginia is a contractual agreement between the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) and NAMI Virginia for youth and young adults. All of our programs for youth and young adults can be found on this page.

Mission: To support a grassroots peer network for youth and young adults to be empowered, active guides in their own care, while advocating for mental health policy and programs that are specific to their unique needs and experiences.

Vision: To cultivate an atmosphere that emphasizes community engagement, resiliency, resources, and support for youth and young adults throughout the state.

Goal: Establish a peer support youth group in each region of the state and offer other education and support programs that will serve as a resource for leadership development, self-efficacy, and personal growth.

Youth MOVE Virginia is governed by an advisory board, comprised of 15 young adults from around the state who have lived experience or a connection to mental health. These individuals were recruited because of their experience with the mental health system and insight based on personal or family experience. Board members are routinely included in discussions about mental health policy and practice, and hold quarterly meetings to stay accountable and informed on current activity across the state.

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Programs for Youth and Young Adults

Youth Groups

Peer support youth groups are activity-based and led by trained young adults with lived experience. Groups are “youth-guided,” meaning the participants are the ones who collectively decide on group activities and discussion. This model is intended to reinforce the idea that youth and young adults can and should be the drivers of their own care, and are capable of being effective leaders in their community. Youth Groups ultimately serve as a place where young people can come and be themselves, while interacting with and meeting others who have similar experiences.

Advanced Youth Leadership Training

This two-day training is for youth and young adults who want to be leaders in their community. Ideal for any young person who would like to use their lived experience to help others, the training is also a great way to introduce the concepts of self-efficacy to the next generation of mental health advocates. Essentially, the Advanced Youth Leadership Training is an effective tool for any community or affiliate to increase their youth engagement in a culturally competent and strengths-based way.

NAMI Ending the Silence

NAMI Ending the Silence is a 50-minute presentation designed to give students an opportunity to learn about mental illness through an informative PowerPoint and short videos. The presentation educates students about the signs and symptoms of mental illness and gives them ideas about how to help themselves, family members, or friends who may be in need of support. The program also includes personal testimony from a youth or young adult with lived experience about their journey to recovery.

NAMI Say It Out Loud

NAMI created Say it Out Loud to get teens talking about mental health. Raising awareness about by sharing information and starting conversations about mental health is key in reducing the stigma and increasing the likelihood that teens will seek mental health care when they need it. NAMI Say it Out Loud includes a short video that features several youth talking about their experiences living with a mental health condition and a discussion guide for adults to facilitate a discussion with other youth and young adults.

NAMI On Campus

NAMI on Campus clubs work to end the stigma that makes it hard for students to talk about mental health and get the help they need. Clubs hold meetings, host awareness raising events, and offer signature NAMI programs through partnerships with NAMI State Organizations and Affiliates across the nation. While NAMI National provides resources for events and activities, clubs also have the freedom to decide what events would be best for their campus and can decide how often they want to meet. Click here for more information.

Current Clubs in Virginia include:

  • Christopher Newport University
  • Lord Fairfax Community College
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Tech

Resources for Youth and Young Adults
NAMI offers a number of resources for youth and young adults. Check out the Youth and Young Adult Resource Center for more information.

NAMI also hosts a Youth Track as part of the Family and Youth Leadership Summit, which is a great opportunity to connect with other youth and young adults who have experienced similar challenges, and learn about how you can make a difference for other youth and young adults. Click here for more information.