APEALS, A Peer Emotional and Life Skills Group, is an emotional and life skills group for middle and high school students. It is an 8 week group that leads teens through a strength based curriculum that encourages them to find their own solutions. NAMI SMC partners with a program called Teen Life that provides us the facilitator training and group curriculum.
APEALS is intended to provide a safe place for teens to talk with peers dealing with similar issues. The group is led with the guidance of 2 Young Adult Peer Facilitators. These groups will help teens process what is going on in their lives so they can move forward in a healthier way. These may be things such as depression, anxiety, anger, stress, isolation, bullying, grief, etc.
With the main focus on social-emotional support, teens will use discussion and hands-on activities to address stress, resources, relationships, school, ups and downs, strengths, and resilience.
APEALS Facilitators play a crucial role as guides and supporters rather than authoritative figures in the teen group setting. Our primary objective is to empower teenagers to discover solutions within themselves.
Our role is to create a nurturing environment where teens feel encouraged to explore their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. We aim to foster an atmosphere where peer interaction and support are actively promoted. By doing so, we enable teens to tap into their collective wisdom and find the answers that resonate most with them.
In essence, APEALS Facilitators are dedicated to facilitating growth, self-discovery, and peer collaboration, ensuring that teenagers in the group take ownership of their journey and decisions.
Duties & Responsibilities
Provide guidance and support to teenagers in the group, emphasizing a non-authoritative approach.
Create a nurturing and safe environment that encourages open expression of thoughts and emotions.
Work with the group to create “Group Norms” and ensure those are reinforced
Promote active peer interaction within the group to facilitate mutual support and learning.
Encourage teens to explore their thoughts, feelings, and ideas, fostering self-discovery.
Ensure that teens take ownership of their journey and decisions.
Collaborate with other facilitators and team members to enhance the overall group experience.
Adapt facilitation techniques to meet the unique needs of each teen and group dynamics.
Mediate conflicts and promote healthy communication within the group.
Prioritize the safety and well-being of all participants in the group.
Report any concerns or issues to higher authorities or appropriate channels as necessary.
Provide constructive feedback and guidance to help teens refine their problem-solving skills.
Maintain records and documentation related to group sessions and individual progress.
Stay updated with best practices in adolescent development and facilitation techniques.
Demonstrate commitment by participating in all scheduled APEALS sessions.
Arrive on time for every group meeting to set a positive example and maintain the group’s schedule.
Prioritize adequate preparation time to ensure you are well-prepared for each group session.
Listen to the provided Teen Life podcast episodes to gain a deeper understanding of the group’s objectives.
Utilize the provided group activity outline as a framework but remain flexible to adjust in real-time based on the unique needs and interests of the students.
Conduct all activities in accordance with NAMI SMC’s established ethical and integrity standards.
Successfully complete the required 5-hour facilitator training to enhance your skills and knowledge in this role.
Access to reliable transportation.
Willing to undergo a background check.
Fluent English speaker with strong written and verbal skills.
Lived experience with a mental health condition.
In recovery from their mental health condition and able to maintain a positive outlook on recovery.
Able to commit to 1 group a week for 8 weeks.
Empathy, patience and active listening skills.
Exhibits cultural sensitivity and awareness, respecting diverse backgrounds and identities of the participants.
Capability to work collaboratively with co-facilitators, team members, and external partners to enhance the group experience.
Not Required but Nice-to-Have
Experience working with teens ages 12-18.
Personal experience being a participant in a mental health support group or leading one.