Acceptance is important to all of us. When we admit to the quirky and obsessive things that make us different, we feel relief hearing others relate. Even though mental health is becoming more widely understood, people living with disorders are less likely to open up about their own quirks, worldviews or life questions. This is particularly difficult for young adults, ages 18 to 25. Many have nowhere to turn as local support groups and mentors rarely include peers their age.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s 2007 report, Young Adults with Serious Mental Illness: Some States and Federal Agencies Are Taking Steps to Address Their Transition Challenges, showed that our nation has done little to meet the needs of young adults living with mental health conditions. This is particularly troubling considering the onset of severe mental illness occurs during these transitional years.
In response, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has developed a digital resource center and user-driven social networking website for young adults living with mental health conditions. StrengthofUs.org is a web-based community not only designed to empower young adults, but also designed by young adults. The site’s growth has been rapid as users continue to open up their lives, minds and hearts to one another by sharing personal stories, providing mutual support and engaging in judgment-free intimate discussions.
From dating, making friends, exceling in school, independent living, to overcoming negative thoughts and finding happiness, the issues discussed are those that matter most to them. Though the resources are plentiful, users can log on to simply chat about T.V. shows, movies, sports and other facets of everyday life. StrengthofUs.org enables young adults to connect and relate to each other in ways that were previously hard to come by.
If nothing else, allow StrengthofUs.org to be a friendly reminder that you are not alone, regardless of your mental health condition.
Pasadena Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive residential treatment centers for patients with mental illnesses or in need of residential treatment and therapy. If you or someone you know may need counseling on mental health issues, please contact us. One of the first programs in the country to base its treatment upon social integration, our mental health facilities offer help through individual and group residential programs with a focus on independent living. Please call us at 877-845-5235 or contact us online for more information.