Resources for Youth
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The Virginia Family Network (VFN) is a contractual agreement between the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) and NAMI Virginia launched in 2011.  The purpose is to create a statewide network of families who support, educate, and empower other families with children and youth with mental health needs while also promoting family-driven and youth-guided policy throughout the child-serving systems.  


The initiative is designed to “meet the family where they are” through activities such as providing support groups, training, resources, and mentorship from other families with children and youth with mental health needs. We are committed to ensuring that no matter where a family lives, they have access to the support and information that they need so that no family ever feels alone.


VFN is Virginia’s Statewide Family Network and voice for families.  We work in partnership with our statewide affiliates, mission-aligned organizations and individual parents and youth to build this grassroots capacity. Learn more about resources and activities that parents, youth and communities can take advantage of throughout Virginia. If you are interested in getting involved please reach out to Mary Beth Walsh at  


The Virginia Family Network is led by a statewide advisory board made up of parents who have children and youth with mental health needs. This group provides guidance and input on all of our programs and initiatives for parents, as well as policies and issues relevant to families who have children and youth with mental health needs.


Youth MOVE Virginia (YMV) is a contractual agreement between the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) and NAMI Virginia for youth and young adults launched in 2014. Youth MOVE (Motivating Others through Voices of Experience) is a platform for young people to share their story and inspire others. YMV is Virginia’s Statewide Youth Network and voice for young people with systems experience. In addition to the mental health system, YMV is open to youth and young adults who have experience in the child welfare, education or juvenile justice systems, including foster care and substance use/recovery services.


Our mission is to support a grassroots peer network for youth and young adults to be empowered, active guides in their own care, while advocating for mental health policy and programs that are specific to their unique needs and experiences. We envision a culture that emphasizes community engagement, resiliency and unconditional support for youth and young adults throughout the state. Learn more about resources and activities that parents, youth and communities can take advantage of throughout Virginia. If you are interested in getting involved please reach out to Sophie Fontaine at

YMV is governed by an advisory board, comprised of 15 youth and young adults from around the state who have lived experience or a connection to mental health. These individuals were recruited because of their experience with various systems and insight based on personal and/or family experience. Board members meet quarterly and are routinely included in discussions about mental health policy and practice to stay informed on current activity across the state.

Click "visit website" for a list of programs for youth and young adults available through Youth MOVE Virginia. If your locality does not currently have any of the below programs, consider hosting “Done in a Day” workshops and presentations. All are free and customizable to your audience and length of time.



Stephen Palmer Shaw Scholarship

In 2014, NAMI Virginia Beach (now NAMI Coastal Virginia) began awarding a scholarship to a student in the Virginia Beach School system as a means of promoting awareness of NAMI and its role in the community. It also allowed NAMI to recognize students who demonstrated a passion for helping others by their involvement in issues concerning to mental health.


The scholarship was named for Stephen Palmer Shaw who lived with passion, a positive sense of urgency, and an unwavering commitment to helping others. A Special Agent with the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), Stephen was killed, while with his team, on a tactical training assignment off the coast of Virginia Beach, VA on May 17, 2013.  

Scholarships for Psychology Students

This resource features five curated scholarships endorsed by the American Psychology Association and a customizable database that allows students to search for psychology scholarships based on their interests, education level and state.

College Guide for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities

After research into mental illness among students, realized those struggling with mental illness contend with a true disability that requires the full support of their learning community. They published their College Guide for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities as a way to start a conversation about this issue.

Single Mothers Grants

For financially disadvantaged families for assistance with utility, energy, mortgage, rent, medication, education and medical bills.



StrengthofUs is an online community designed to inspire young adults impacted by mental health issues to think positive, stay strong, and achieve their goals through peer support and resource sharing. 


Raising Mental Health Awareness on Campus Tool Kit 

Created specifically to support presentations about mental health to students on college campuses, Raising Mental Health Awareness is a toolkit that provides all of the resources necessary for a successful educational and discussion presentation.


I Need a Lighthouse

The mission of I Need A Lighthouse, Inc. is to significantly reduce the loss and suffering from teen and young adult depression, suicide, and suicidal behavior through educational programs and community partnerships. For more information, call 757-499-2041 or

757-828-NAMI, check your school website, or ask an AP Psychology Teacher.


Lighthouse Psychology clubs are currently at:

Bayside High School • Cox • First Colonial • Princess Anne • Salem 

Teens and young adults who live with mental illness can feel hopeless and alone. Many don’t know what’s wrong with them but feel like it’s their fault. Those who understand what is happening fear they can’t be helped. Because of the stigma attached to mental illness, it’s often hard for those suffering and their families and friends to talk about what they’re going through. But help is available, and it works.


The goal of OK2TALK is to create a community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems and encourage them to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle, or hope. Anyone can add their voice by sharing creative content such as poetry, inspirational quotes, photos, videos, song lyrics, and messages of support in a safe, moderated space. We hope this is the first step towards getting help and feeling better.


Say It Out Loud

One in five teens lives with a mental health condition and yet more than half are not getting the help they need. Stigma remains a huge barrier to teens seeking help. Many cite fear of negative perceptions as a major factor in choosing not to speak up.


Raising awareness by sharing information and starting conversations about mental health is key in reducing these perceptions and increasing the likelihood that teens will seek mental health care when they need it. NAMI is committed to helping start those conversations. We have created Say it Out Loud to get teens talking about mental health.