I recently had the opportunity to attend the 25th annual Alternatives Conference in Orlando, Florida. The theme of the consumer-driven conference was “Coming Home: Creating Our Own Communities of Wellness and Recovery.” One of the most exciting presentations came from a group of young people out of Alameda County in California’s Bay Area. The Transition Age Youth Initiative (TAYi) is a partner to Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services (ACBHCS) and Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services (PEERS) and is composed of young people who have experience in the county’s mental health system, juvenile justice system and foster care system. The initiative provides training and access to services, as well as outreach and public education designed to support the recovery of young people and eradicate the stigma of mental illness.
A few months ago TAYi received a grant to create a board game that engages young people transitioning into adulthood and provides crucial information about mental health services and other salient issues in Alameda County. The team worked tirelessly to create a beautiful, well thought-out game that’s both highly informative and fun to play – and they finished what was supposed to be a year-long project in just a few months! TAYi is using all the time they saved to demonstrate their product at national conferences. Their ideas are smart and innovative. Their energy and dedication to advocacy is infectious. It was incredibly refreshing to see a group of young people on the forefront of mental health advocacy.
Check out the resources they have made available to transition age youth across the country here, and be on the lookout for more great work out of TAYi!