Our Families Say 2

Being a transition-aged youth with a diagnosed mental illness is not easy, especially when you feel that
supports are completely out of reach. Imagine being 24, not knowing basic life-skills, being homeless
and not knowing when or if life can get worse than it already is. That is the reality for a lot of transition-
aged youth with mental, emotional and behavioral needs including myself.

I first came to know PPAL ten years ago when I joined the youth group called “The O.T.H.E.R.S.” Both
the group and PPAL were a great resource for me as it was a place where I could be myself without the
fear of the stigma I was used to enduring in the community. It was there that I finally realized that there
were other youth like me, and like them, I could rise up against my struggles and thrive. Having PPAL as
a support in my life has most definitely been a big help in developing resiliency.

I am now at a place in my life that I would call stable. I can hold a job, and I can attend college. I can
lead a normal life, something I thought would have never been possible because of the everyday
challenges of dealing with my anxiety. I have also taken on a larger role at PPAL: Youth Mentor for our
3 youth groups. I can take what I’ve learned through-out my experiences and help the youth see that
there’s more to life than their mental illness, just as PPAL did for me 10 years ago.

— Chandra, Youth Mentor, YouthMOVE Massachusetts