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For further information about programming, resources, our Youth Committee, and more - check out the sections below!
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The NAMI Coastal Youth Committee is open to anyone who wants to contribute in any capacity, and is a great opportunity to acquire volunteer and/or service hours.
Say it Out Loud
Mental health conditions affect one in five teens, and yet very few talk about it. There is no health without mental health!
In this interactive discussion, we answer questions and talk about mental health, our own lived experiences, warning signs, how to help a friend, and do our part to start conversations that end stigma.
Melvin Roy - ODU Human Services Major, UMFS Youth Support Partner, Child Welfare Advocate FosterClub/CCAI, SLAM Group Facilitator
Alexa Uroskie - We are Warriors & Mental Health on Youtube
Aaron Gonzales - Piece of Mind ODU
Jessica Scrimgeour - NAMI Coastal Youth Committee Chair
Colin Lowther - Run for the 132
NAMI Ending the Silence
Free 50 minute presentation & discussion which educates students about mental health conditions, including personal testimony from and conversation with a youth or young adult with lived experience. The presentation's message of empathy and hope encourages students to actively care for themselves and their friends.
NAMI Say it Out Loud
Say it Out Loud includes a short film featuring three teens' experience with mental illness, a discussion guide, and a narrated presentation. This interactive experience gets teens talking about their mental health and helps to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness.
Children's Challenging Behaviors
A free 6-hour workshop for parents of children and youth with mental health needs led by a trained and experienced parent who provides information to help parents understand challenging behaviors that may require intervention.
A list of resources, contacts, etc. for crisis intervention, connection, ending the stigma and much more! For additional information or support, contact the NAMI office at (757) 499-2041 or
Virginia Family Network
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.
Youth MOVE Virginia
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
Groups & Resources
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ending the Silence
NAMI Ending the Silence is an engaging presentation that helps audience members learn about the warning signs of mental health conditions and what steps to take if you or a loved one are showing symptoms of a mental health condition.
NAMI Ending the Silence presentations include two leaders: one who shares an informative presentation and a young adult with a mental health condition who shares their journey of recovery. Audience members can ask questions and gain understanding of an often-misunderstood topic. Through dialogue, we can help grow the movement to end stigma.
What Your Audience Will Get
Free of cost to schools and communities
NAMI Ending the Silence for Students: 50-minute presentation designed for middle and high school students that includes warning signs, facts and statistics and how to get help for themselves or a friend. Research has shown that NAMI Ending the Silence for Students is effective in changing middle and high school students’ knowledge and attitudes toward mental health conditions and toward seeking help
NAMI Ending the Silence for School Staff: 1-hour presentation for school staff members that includes information about warning signs, facts and statistics, how to approach students and how to work with families
NAMI Ending the Silence for Families: 1-hour presentation for adults with middle or high school aged youth that includes warning signs, facts and statistics, how to talk with your child and how to work with school staff
What People Are Saying
“I’m really grateful and glad that you talked to us. I often feel very alone or weird because many kids my age don’t understand. But, now I’m sure they would be more supportive of me.” -Student
NAMI Say It Out Loud
Youth leaders and Youth MOVE Virginia advisory board members Arianna Gray, Suzanna Woods and Hayden Myer participated in the making of a new film by NAMI called “Say It Out Loud.” In partnership with the OK2Talk Campaign, NAMI is using the video as a tool to promote conversations about mental health among youth and young adults. Toolkits are now available to be disseminated to various organizations across the country, including NAMI affiliates! In addition to the film, toolkits include a short educational presentation for an adult facilitator, a discussion guide and fact sheets. Check out the video here!
To get youth talking about mental health in their community with their peers
To educate young people on the 10 common warning signs of a mental health condition
Who Leads the Program
A young adult, program volunteer, or professional.
How to Find the Program in your Community
NAMI Say It Out Loud is unique in the fact that anyone can access and offer this program! Simply download the materials or request a toolkit. It is meant to be a resource to youth and their communities.
How to Give Back
Children's Challenging Behaviors
Children’s Challenging Behaviors is a six-hour workshop for parents of children and youth with mental health needs. In this workshop, a trained and experienced parent provides information to help parents understand typical behaviors versus challenging behaviors that require intervention. Parents learn when and how to seek help, develop parenting strategies, learn the ins and outs of special education and other educational supports, and discover community resources available to families and youth.
With this class, you’ll find out that you’re not alone. Learning to cope with your child’s mental health condition is a journey, and there is hope. The group setting of Children’s Challenging Behaviors provides mutual support and shared positive impact—you can experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. You also can help others with your own experience.
Children’s Challenging Behaviors was created to educate and support families who have a child diagnosed with a mental health condition and/or who has challenging behaviors. This comprehensive training focuses on developing skills to manage challenging behavior, and learning information and skills to advocate for a child in the educational, medical, social service, and insurance settings. A plan of action that includes partnerships between home, school and community will also be developed in this workshop.
The goals of this workshop are that parents will:
Gain an understanding of typical challenging childhood behavior and what to look for in behavior that merits a closer look
Gain an understanding of mental wellness and mental health conditions in children and develop strategies to support your child/children
Learn about mental health conditions and how they may affect a child’s behavior and school performance
Learn strategies to support a child with challenging behaviors and/or a mental health disorder
Learn information to overcome stigma and myths that are sometimes associated with mental health conditions and challenging behaviors
Learn advocacy skills
Learn accurate information about special education as it relates to the education of children with challenging behaviors or a mental health condition
Learn about community supports
Who Leads The Program
A Children’s Challenging Behaviors teacher is a trained NAMI leader. They play an important role in ensuring that all participants feel welcomed and supported. Children’s Challenging Behaviors teachers are uniquely qualified to lead a class because they too are parents who have a child or youth with mental health needs. Teachers therefore can empathize with and encourage those who are just beginning, or continuing their journey. A Children’s Challenging Behaviors teacher ensures that the class achieves the educational objectives.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
After research into mental illness among students, BestColleges.com 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.
For financially disadvantaged families for assistance with utility, energy, mortgage, rent, medication, education and medical bills.