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NAMI offering new youth program

BY Paige Conley - pconley@perutribune.com

National Alliance on Mental Illness Indiana is presenting young adults with the opportunity to participate in their Youth and Young Adult Peer Support (YSP) training program this summer.

YSP training is a 40-hour course spanning over one week that prepares young adults for roles supporting young adults, according to a NAMI Indiana press release. The course is going to run from June 18 through June 22 and is going to take place in Indianapolis.

Candidates must be between the ages of 18 and 30 years old, live in Indiana, be living with a mental health condition, mental illness, and/or substance use disorder, and they must be at least one year into their recovery, said National Alliance on Mental Illness Indiana Executive Director Barbara Moser.

“The intention is that the person is still seen as a peer,” Moser said.

YSP training is for a new certification tailored for young adults who want to work in the mental health services system of care, said the NAMI Indiana release. Candidates are going to learn about mental health recovery, terminology used and not used, how to communicate with an individual in a crisis, and so much more, according to Moser.

“The idea is to prepare them to work in the community mental health systems,” Moser said.

According to the NAMI release, the benefits of training include gaining skills for peer support in the Indiana system of care, using lived experiences to help shape Indiana’s systems of care, and providing feedback on how this training will look in the future.

According to Systems of Care Governance Coalition Coordinator Antonia Sawyer, lived experience is extremely valuable when helping others recovering from mental illness.

Peer support is also beneficial because youth suffering from mental illness are more likely to listen to someone around their own age, Sawyer said.

“It makes them a valuable asset because they are relatable to youth and young adults in our community,” Sawyer said.

Age is not the only aspect in which candidates who complete YSP training are going to relate to their clients. Every candidate who participates in YSP training is going to have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to live with a mental illness or something similar.

“It’s empowering and inspiring for young people,” Moser said.

According to Moser, there is a stigma around having a mental health condition in which many people don’t want to talk about it or receive treatment for it. YSP’s are going to be able to share their own stories and how they were once where their clients are now.

“It’s a great way to help,” Moser said. “It can certainly help engage people in treatment.”

Sawyer said dealing with mental health issues like depression and anxiety can feel very isolating which is why it’s important for programs like YSP training to be utilized.

The course is completely free and NAMI Indiana will even pay for lodging and reimburse for gas for candidates from out of town.

All individuals must complete an application and screening process with NAMI Indiana before they can move onto training.

Individuals interested in applying for one of the training slots can access the application on NAMI Indiana website or e-mail National Alliance on Mental Illness Indiana Director of Education & Affiliate Support Joanne Abbott at jabbott@namiindiana.org.