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“If I Can Do It, You Can Do It Too”

Justin came to Family Houston as a client but now, he’s a member of our team. Working part-time as a peer wellness specialist, Justin is helping young adults cope with depression and other mental health challenges, gain greater self-sufficiency, and achieve their goals.

In November 2014, Justin joined Family Houston’s Young Adults on the Move. This program provides peer and caregiver support groups, one-on-one counseling, and social opportunities for transition-age youth (ages 15-24). Justin took on leadership roles in the peer group by giving presentations and contributing ideas for group activities. Justin’s self-esteem improved when the ideas he contributed—for example, a t-shirt design concept—were realized. “It gave me a lot of hope that my voice was heard,” said Justin.

With some help from Family Houston’s Employment Services, Financial Stability, and Case Management programs, Justin became more and more independent. He studied to become a certified peer wellness specialist. Peer wellness specialists are professionals who use their own experiences with mental health challenges to support others with similar challenges.

In July 2016, Justin became Family Houston’s peer wellness specialist for Young Adults on the Move. “I feel like this is my calling,” said Justin. “Since I’ve started working here and helping other people, it’s opened up who I really am.” Justin encourages his peers and helps them cope with anger, depression, and anxiety by sharing his own challenges and leading by example. “I want them to know that there’s nothing wrong with getting help, and most importantly, you’re not alone. If I can do it, you can do it, too,” says Justin.