Providing support every step of the way
Children, Youth, and Family Advocacy
For children and adolescents dealing with a mental health condition, a strong support system is important to overcoming obstacles. And those families need support, too. NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania understands the significance of a strong support system for the entire family unit, which is why we work closely with a number of family advocacy organizations and serve on numerous committees and work groups aimed at guiding youth and families through the system.
One avenue for advocacy is education. NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania provides NAMI Basics, a free, 6-week education program for families and caregivers of children and adolescents who are experiencing behavioral health concerns. We also offer NAMI Ending the Silence, a 50-minute mental health awareness program designed for high school-aged youth. NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania’s education team also delivers specialized presentations in schools for students, teachers and administrators, and parents.
Learn more about NAMI’s Signature Education Programs.
When young people are hospitalized, it is frightening for them and their families. NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania is here to offer support, information, and guidance for families and caregivers who need to learn what steps come next in the process. We work closely with a number of organizations that assist in the support process.
The Allegheny Family Network is a family-run organization. All employees are parents or caregivers who have raised a child with mental health and/or emotional challenges. AFN provides partners who offer one-on-one support for families as they seek and receive services.
The Education Law Center ensures access to a quality public education for all children by advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable students.
For parents looking for an education advocate within Allegheny County, NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania directs them to the
Office of Behavioral Health Bureau of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
#StrongMomStrongBaby is a statewide effort to amend legislation to provide support to moms and their babies when mom is experiencing postpartum depression.
Project LAUNCH aims to promote the social emotional, behavioral, and physical health and cognitive development of young children from birth to age 8.
Allegheny County Community Support Program
Allegheny County’s Community Support Program (CSP) is a coalition of mental health consumers, family members, and professionals working to help adults with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders live successfully in the community.
First Episode Psychosis is the first time a person starts hearing, seeing, tasting or believing things that others do not. Research shows that early treatment of psychosis can lessen the severity of the illness throughout the course of someone’s life. Psychosis often comes and goes in episodes and it is more common than most people think, affecting about 3 in 100 people during their lives. First episodes of psychosis typically occur between the ages of 15 and 30.
First Episode Psychosis programs help young people with symptoms of serious mental illness get the treatment they need to get better, get their lives on track, and pursue their life goals. Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shows that, compared to typical care, people with early psychosis who receive Coordinated Specialty Care in FEP programs (CSC-FEP) experience greater improvement in their symptoms, relationships, and quality of life; are more involved in work or school; and stay in treatment longer.
Pennsylvania currently has nine FEP program sites:
NAMI has a variety of FEP resources, including an Expansion Toolkit that provides background, research, and ideas for how individuals and families can get involved in advocating for FEP programs.
NAMI FEP Tip Sheets
What is Early and First-Episode Psychosis?
Early Psychosis: What’s Going On and What Can You Do?
Early Intervention: Tips for School Staff and Coaches
Encouraging People to Seek Help for Early Psychosis