THRU Project Joins Forces with NAMI to Provide Monthly Support Groups for Young Adults with a History of Foster Care
Youth in the foster care system have numerous experiences and compounded traumas that contribute to the manifestation of mental health related issues. According to the Hunter School of Social Work, up to 80% of children in foster care have significant mental health issues, compared to approximately 18-22% of the general population. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthy Foster Care American Initiative, identifies mental and behavioral health as the “greatest unmet heath need for children and teens in foster care.”
Many of our youth have never had the opportunity to share their story and work through their experiences. The transient nature of foster care placements leaves little time for these youth to feel heard, and they often become lonely and isolated as a result. For this reason, THRU Project has joined forces with the National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI) to provide free, monthly support groups for the young adults we serve.
NAMI Connection Recovery Support Groups offer a relaxed, peer style approach to addressing, sharing, and coping with mental illness. Our youth now have the opportunity to share their stories, find solidarity in each other, and promote each other’s growth through shared experiences. As a facilitator for these groups, I have been trained to guide the group discussion towards meaningful dialogue, encourage group participation and ensure that the group guidelines and boundaries are observed. These groups are not counseling; I am not there to give them the answers they are looking for, but to encourage them to reflect inwardly and come to solutions as a group. My goal is to help them build up their capacity to take on their mental health issues so that they may leave each group session feeling more empowered than the last.