Youth Groups

Overview

Activity-based youth groups are for teens who have experience with a mental health condition, personally or through a family member/close loved one. Groups are also intended to support young people with experience in various youth serving systems. In addition to the mental health system, groups are open to youth who have experience in the foster care, child welfare, juvenile justice, substance abuse/recovery, and special education systems. Youth groups can be held weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Each community can decide based on their unique needs and capacity how often the youth group meets.

Program Goals

Support and Empowerment. Research shows that one of the best ways to support young people is to connect them with their peers. The youth groups are intended to serve as a safe and neutral space for youth and young adults who have experience with a mental health condition. It’s also an opportunity for youth to meet others with similar experiences in a fun and friendly environment. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in projects that utilize their individual creativity and allow them to tell their story. Ultimately, NAMI wants youth to have a place where they feel they belong!

Who Leads the Program

Two young adults with lived experience who are at a place in their recovery where they want to give back. All young adult facilitators are required to take the Advanced Youth Leadership Training and pass a basic background check.

What People are Saying about the Program

I love coming to the youth group! It’s my favorite day of the week!”

The peer support youth group has really filled a void in the community. In terms of resources for youth and young adults, there aren’t many other options.”

How to Find the Program in Your Community

The following communities offer a youth group that is a part of Youth MOVE Virginia:

    • Central Virginia (Richmond), Sponsored by NAMI Central Virginia and UMFS- contact Jeff Conley at (804) 285-1749 or jeff.conley@namicentralvirginia.org
    • Northern Virginia (Fairfax), Sponsored by Formed Families Forward- contact Kelly Henderson at (703) 539-2904 or kelly.henderson@formedfamiliesforward.org
    • Tidewater Virginia (Williamsburg), Sponsored by NAMI Williamsburg- contact Claire Brantley at (571) 274-4882 or jcbrantley@email.wm.edu
    • Southwest Virginia (Norton), Sponsored by Frontier Health and Planning District One Behavioral Health Services- contact Jennifer Graham at (276) 431-4370 or jgraham@frontierhealth.org
    • Northwest Virginia (Winchester), Sponsored by Winchester Community Mental Health and MET-R Integrated Health- contact Cori Cain at (540) 535-1112 ext. 106 or coric@wcmhc.com

If your affiliate or community isn’t listed above, contact Amanda Long at: (804) 285-8264 ext. 211 or along@namivirginia.org

How to Give Back

Start a youth peer support group in your community!
Become a youth/young adult ambassador and spread the word!