NAMI Charleston developing program to expand youth access to mental health

Charleston County News

A student walks between classes at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kan., on the first day of in-person learning Wednesday, March 30, 2021. The school, like other schools nationwide, has made extra efforts to keep kids at risk of dropping out engaged as classes went virtual due to the pandemic. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Charleston on Tuesday announced the approval of the ‘Speak LOUD Project’, a youth program designed to “address the lack of after care programs” for youth with mental health conditions.

According to Rob Aitcheson, Executive Director for Charleston NAMI, suicide was the leading cause of death for pre-teens and young adults in South Carolina in 2020. He believes this program is uniquely situated to fill a gap in care.

Designed for children “ages 12 to 17 who are living with mental health struggles and challenges, or those who have trouble in school, at home, or in the community,” the program will provide a safe space for children and families to connect.

Trained volunteers will lead the group, “with the goal of empowering courage, connection, and community through advocacy and outreach” and “encouraging and empowering our youth to tell their story, in their own words, and with their voice.”

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