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Online Community & Resources for Youth with Mental Health Challenges

by Mary Mazzoni on May 25, 2013

Young self advocates are finding power in connection.

Strength of Us (SofU) is an online community organized by young people through NAMI – the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

SofU is designed to empower youth through resource sharing and peer support.

The site has been developed with the leadership of a young adult advisory group and SofU members – who request input and resources from professionals in areas of interest to them.

Resources

Tip sheets, blog posts, and other practical resources address topics youth have identified as important.

Here is a small sampling of topics:

The links above connect you to pages featuring tip sheets for each topic.

You’ll find links to related blog posts and group discussions on the right sidebar of each page.

Some content related to each topic is reserved for registered SofU members who are logged in to the site. You’ll also need to be a member to access blog comments and group discussions.

Think Positive – Stay Strong

The site is infused with positive energy - including the SofU “Think Positive Project”  that spills over to FacebookYouTube and Twitter.

Member Community

Registered members can access SofU group discussions and the internal social networking features at SofU.

Anyone can interact with SofU on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter – even if they are not a registered SofU member.

To register for the SofU community, you must be at least 18 years old and agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

As a registered SofU member, you can:

  • Start or join a group around a topic of interest to you
  • Post and read messages on The Wire (the internal SofU version of Twitter)
  • Comment on SofU blog posts – or contribute posts of your own
  • Make friends and invite them into your network

You are not alone

Stigma associated with a mental health diagnosis can lead to feelings of isolation. Through Strength of Us , everyone learns that they are valued, and not alone.

Peer encouragement and practical resources help young people set and achieve personal goals. What’s more – they can encourage others and be part of a community.

To share or not to share?

Sharing personal information with others – online or IRL (in real life) – is a very personal decision. As parents, teachers, counselors, and adult allies, we’re called to empower youth to make their own informed choices about disclosure.

Here are some resources that can help:

Your turn

What do you think about peer support in general, and Strength of Us in particular? Have you – or others you care about – been part of SofU, or other peer support communities? Do you have questions about online peer support and resource sites?

Please share your comments below.

Did you find this post helpful? Please share it. Thanks!

Let’s support each other as we support our kids!

Image credits – Strength of Us on Facebook

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