youth peer advocates


youth peer advocates

Credentialed youth peer advocates (YPAs) use their own lived experience to connect with at-risk youth through peer-led support groups, educational trainings, and 1:1 non-crisis support for youth and young adults ages 13-26.

Talking with someone who understands can make the world of difference when you are dealing with a mental health challenge. Youth peer advocates are trained* individuals ages 18-30 who have personally received mental health and/or addiction treatment services. They provide information, 1:1 non-crisis support, validation and hope to youth and their families as they navigate the mental health care system.

YPAs facilitate support groups for youth ages 13-26 providing a safe place for young people to connect with their peers, share their struggles, receive support, celebrate successes, and practice self-care. YPAs also meet one-on-one with at-risk youth by appointment and provide peer support services to youth receiving inpatient treatment at several WNY hospitals.

MHA’s YPA program is also active in area schools raising mental health awareness and providing skill building, coaching, and mentoring to at-risk students.

If you are interested in learning more about our youth peer advocates program, support groups and services, or even how to become a youth peer, contact or call 716.886.1242 x345.

*Youth peer advocates have received the New York State Youth Peer Advocate Credential administered by YOUTH POWER! Of Families Together in NYS.

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