Young adults fill mental health services gap with peer mentoring

Click here to read my article published on Oakland North.

“Millennia Dunn has stylish strands of electric blue hair and black and red acrylic nails. Instead of enjoying Veteran’s Day with her friends and family, wohe 18-year-old is at a leadership regional retreat for PEERS TAY.

PEERS stands for Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services, and TAY means Transitional Age Youth (TAY), or people ages 16 through mid-20s. Typically, the health care system specializes in assisting children, adults, and elderly adults, leaving the TAY group without specialized care. The mental health services inside and outside of hospitals are not tailored to meet the special circumstances of these young adults, leaving them without proper care.

At the PEERS headquarters near the Oakland airport, Dunn and other TAY members and volunteers from southern California and San Francisco were discussing some of the issues faced by people in this age group. Among them were the names given to people suffering mental illnesses, accusations of faking emotions, and lack of mental health tools geared towards black men. After brainstorming some resolutions, the group of young men and women wrote down their practical proposals on bright-colored Post-Its that covered the walls of the conference room…”

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