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What Defines Youth MOVE New Hampshire's Model of Youth Peer Support?

Youth MOVE New Hampshire defines their model of youth peer support as a service provided by a young person who is trained to strategically use their own lived experiences to inspire other young people to take action towards creating better outcomes for their future. Youth Peer Support as a service via Youth MOVE New Hampshire is firmly grounded in the emerging science around best practices nationally and was developed under extensive consultation with national experts as well as significant research around critical practice elements. Youth MOVE New Hampshire staff utilized an Implementation Science approach to model development and have created a Practice Profile and ancillary tools to define and measure fidelity.

Our model of youth peer support was created to specifically address the psychological and developmental needs and of transition-aged youth and young adults (13-25), which are different from those of older adults. Youth peer support is a service meant to break down the power dynamic barrier that generally exists between professional practitioners and youth and young adults being supported by providing an authentic opportunity for the young people receiving peer support to feel validation and develop healthy peer relationships based on similar lived experiences. It is important to note here that not every young person will desire and/or benefit from Youth MOVE New Hampshire’s model of youth peer support, which is why it is just one service option among an array of other services that are offered statewide.

The Role of the Youth Peer Support Specialist

Youth Peer Support Specialists (YPSS) actively model that successful life outcomes are possible and share practical skills for navigating the healthcare system and developing wellness tools. Youth Peer Support Specialists coach, support, and prepare the young people that they are supporting to become more involved in their own health and treatment decisions and provide emotional support throughout the process. YPSS are trained to inspire hope for other young people who are currently in similar circumstances by sharing their lived experiences in a way that highlights healthy lifestyle changes and resources that they found to better cope with their struggles and overcome the barriers that they were faced with, without ever straying into an attitude of “knowing better” or being in some way above the youth they support. YPSS are not mentors, a term that implies a power over the youth. YPSS work with other young people to help them become empowered to be more engaged with their treatment and are prepared to begin to take greater control of their lives. YPSS help young people to develop and hone their own voices and advocacy skills to open channels of communication between family members, natural supports, and other providers who are involved in futures planning.

A Youth Peer Support Specialist is trained to:

  • Strategically share about their own lived experiences in order to build a sense of trust and mutuality and decrease youth’s feelings of isolation and stigmatization

  • Offer authentic empathy and validation

  • Assist youth in navigating services and systems, upon request

  • Serve as a role model for other young people experiencing challenges by modeling effective coping techniques and wellness strategies

  • Assist youth in identifying personal goals

  • Assist youth in determining the possible next steps needed to reach their goals   

  • Support youth in accomplishing goals related to becoming more self-reliant and independent

  • Ensure and empower youth to share their voice and choice during development and implementation of treatment plans

  • Support youth by attending team meetings, upon request   

  • Coach youth on how to develop and hone their own voice in order to be a competent and confident self‐advocate

  • Foster decision-making skills and tools that will lead to a healthier, happier future

  • Work with team members to help ensure that youth’s voice is both heard and incorporated in futures planning

  • Help other team members and individuals working with youth to better understand youth culture

  • Help youth identify and enhance their relationships with natural supports and community resources, as well as other nonclinical but therapeutic activities

A Youth Peer Support Specialist is NOT trained to be a:

  • Friend

  • Therapist

  • Case Manager

  • Crisis Responder

  • Clinician

  • Respite Provider

  • Babysitter

  • Spy

  • Advocate

  • Convincer

  • Compliance monitor (and should not be expected to provide every detail that do not relate to safety or treatment unless requested to do so by the youth. Even if requested early on, the primary role will always be to assist the youth to speak up and find their own voice)​

Our History

Youth Motivating Others through Voices of Experience (Youth M.O.V.E.) is a national organization that promotes leadership amongst youth. As of the Spring of 2013 we have been officially recognized as New Hampshire's statewide Youth MOVE chapter.

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