Youth Bring New Perspective To Mental Health Advocacy

December 23, 2009

Martha Mora began assisting other teens in their recovery and advocating for a more effective mental health policy after she was treated for drug addiction and attempted suicide when she was fourteen. Mora is one of the growing numbers of young people recovering from mental illness who have emerged as a powerful force for change, both in assisting in their own and others’ recovery from such diseases. This is tremendous since young adults and adolescents recovering from mental illnesses are among the most effective advocates for increased funding and better programs because their experience is largely unknown to the public. “Youth-guided systems of care” incorporate adolescents with mental illness into deciding the design of their treatment plan from the onset of care and is the kind of approach Mora is encouraging. Anisha Imhoff-Kerr, a college student with bipolar disorder who presents mental health awareness courses at New Mexico high schools, said the peer approach has encouraged students to reveal traumatic assaults and other health concerns and get the professional help they need.

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