Words Matter – Young Adult Mental Health Education

The Cause

Prosper Place is a charitable organization serving adults living with mental illness for over 28 years.

The "Words Matter - Young Adult Mental Health Education" has been born as an idea to help young adults (18 - 35 yrs) overcome social anxieties; learn to live well with their mental illness diagnosis; and fight identity stigma.

All too often, mental illness diagnosis transpires during a person's teenage years. There are worthwhile and varied child and family supports available in Edmonton. These supports are critical during this time of adjustment and development. The sad part is that once the person reaches the age of 18 years old, these organizations are not able to continue supports. These years of emerging adulthood are vital to each person's future opportunities. Frequently, we see young adults enter into post-secondary education then, due to their mental illness diagnosis, often drop out or fail. This interruption is time and again followed by mental health hospitalization. Left feeling alone, defeated and unable to find their new identity, they are thrust into the community with very little resources.

The "Words Matter - Young Adult Mental Health Education" will help to bridge the gap of mental health supports as a person grows (mentally, physically and emotionally) into adulthood.

Prosper Place will provide an eight week educational series as follows:
- 2 hour sessions x 1/week x 8 weeks

These educational sessions will include the following topics:
1) Let's Talk Communication
2) The Ups & Downs of Recovery
3) Self Care & Self Esteem
4) Identity - I am more than my diagnosis
5) Words Matter - dialogue and perceptions
6) Creativity Building - music & art
7) Positive Thinking & Healthy Relationships - reach out to a friend in need
8) Stigma & Stereotype Busters

These educational sessions will be held in safe and inclusive environment - at Prosper Place. The sessions will be co-developed and co-facilitated by our Peer Manager and by one of Prosper Place's young adult peer members. There is no one that can give us a better insight into young adult challenges than a young adult living with mental illness.

The outcomes that we will witness for the participants of these educational sessions include:
- increased self-esteem
- increased confidence (able to pursue their goals
- deceased social anxiety
- improved communication skills (more willing and able to express themselves)

These outcomes will be measured by a pre and post surveys.

Who Will it Benefit?

Direct benefits will be received by the following groups living with a diagnosis of mental illness:
- young adults aged 18 - 35 years of age
- LGBTQ2 inclusion
- indigenous inclusion
- immigrant & newcomers

The positive ripple affect of the benefits will be felt by the families, employers/teachers, and friends of the young adult.

Currently, Prosper Place has over 100 young adults who are trying to find their way in the world after hospitalization and diagnosis of mental illness.