Youth and Young Adult Peer Support Training (YAYAPS)

The Youth and Young Adult Peer Support training is a three-day training (19.5 hours of classroom time) for peer supporters on the topics of youth voice and issues specific to youth navigating mental health or substance use challenges. The Youth and Young Adult Peer Support training is available for anyone who works, or is interested in working, as a peer specialist. This training provides participants with a foundation for youth experience with mental health and substance use challenges, the unique issues for youth navigating recovery and youth-serving systems, and best practices and tools for peer specialists looking to support youth. The training will also encourage participants to consider how to use their own lived experience when supporting youth through structured reflection, group discussion, and interactive activities.

The Youth and Young Adult Peer Support training is appropriate for anyone working or volunteering (or interested in working or volunteering) as a peer specialist. The only prerequisite to attendance is that participants must have previous formal training in peer support practice (e.g., their state’s Peer Specialist certification training, Intentional Peer Support, etc.).

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this training, it is envisioned that participants will be able to:

  • Define the term “youth”
  • Identify and practice effective ways of meeting youth and young people “where they are”
  • Build authentic connections with young people based on lived experience, regardless of differences in age or other experiences
  • Identify stigmatizing language used to describe young people and effectively reframe such language through the lens of peer values
  • Understand how resistance or other actions may be forms of self-advocacy, communication, or responses to trauma
  • Identify common responses to trauma that young people experience
  • Support young people in exploring different ways to heal from trauma
  • Utilize foundational knowledge of power and privilege to support youth experiencing oppression
  • Assist young people in learning to advocate for themselves within the settings that young people must navigate
  • Set and hold boundaries with persons served and coworkers
  • Identify challenges and ethical boundaries for supporting family members of a young person

A special thanks to Via Hope, the organization where initial development of the Youth and Young Adult Peer Support training took place.
For more information on this training, including training opportunities through the South Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center or how to bring this training to your community, please email [email protected].

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