National Peer Mental Health Advocates (PMHA)
Our core idea is simple: people who have lived experience with mental illness can offer a specific, unique, culturally and socially relevant, and accessible type of mental health care-- known as peer support. Peer Mental Health Advocates offer free, one-on-one, long-term mental health support.
How to Request a PMHA:
Note: You may request a specific PMHA, or request general support. Not all PMHAs may be available.
I'm a 22 year old from Long Island. I have a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and I'm working towards my Master's in Mental Health Counseling.
My diagnosis is Generalized Anxiety Disorder. While not officially diagnosed, I've also spent at least ten years obsessively picking at my skin, particularly on my face. Apart from my diagnosis, I'm familiar with many other diagnoses through my personal relationships (anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, borderline personality disorder, ADHD, bulimia, bipolar disorder, self harm, thoughts of/attempted suicide).
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, relieving stress through Zumba (I'm a certified instructor) and strength training, and watching tv series on Netflix.
Areas of lived experience: depression, anorexia, eating disorders, self harm, post-concussion syndrome, chronic pain
Focus: meditation, mindfulness, self care, pain management
Resources used: meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, art, college chaplains, support networks
Hi, I’m Sarah, and I just graduated from Williams College with a degree in Mathematics. I’ve dealt with mental illness for a while now, and I am so grateful to have had the support of friends going through similar struggles. Based on my own experience, I decided that I want to spend my life providing emotional and spiritual support to those who are dealing with chronic illness (mental/physical), so next year I will be attending divinity school so that I can become a college chaplain.
In my spare time, I love to make art, and I’m currently experimenting with whatever materials I can get my hands on. Other than that, I enjoy reading, writing, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.
Area of Lived Experience: MDD, GAD, PTSD
Focus: Medication, Affirmations, developing strong relationships, panic attacks, biblical therapy, childhood trauma, depression, anxiety, coping skills, and choosing a therapist.
Resources Used: Counseling at college (christian counseling), depression/ anxiety medicine, exercise, church, talking to friends, and writing or writing poems.
"I am an African-American woman. The black community has even more stigma. As a group of people we are told to be tough and get over things. Having a problem is seen as weakness."
Diagnosis/Area of Expertise: Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD, Anorexia
Focus: Medication, Healthcare Utilization, Guilt, Apathy, Stigma, Education
Resources Used: Research, CBT, Mindfulness, Exercise, Support Network
I'm Shaina - science nerd, pseudo-vegetarian, ultimate frisbee enthusiast, and aspiring mental health care provider. The latter wasn’t even on my radar until 2012, when in the span of a few months I moved across the country to a city that was reeling from a recent mass shooting at a local movie theater, jumped out the window of my apartment to escape from a deadly arson, learned that my sister had been institutionalized 2,000 miles away in critical condition, and mourned 26 friends and neighbors who were murdered at the elementary school in my hometown. The common thread? Mental illness.
Area of Lived Experience: General Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive tendencies.
Focus: Mindfulness, meaningful social relationships, self care, self love, panic attacks, stress management.
Resources Used: College counselors, yoga, exercise, journaling, meditation, breathing exercises, support network, education.
Hi, I'm Noelle! I love dogs(!!!), video games, mozzarella cheese, and all things cozy. I've been anxious for as long as I can remember, but was not diagnosed until my freshman year of college, when my mental health was at its worst. At that time, I couldn't imagine myself graduating or progressing at all because I could hardly muster up the courage to make it to my classes. I'm now about to graduate with my bachelor's degree in Psychology, and am very happy with how far I have come. I'm passionate about trying to help others who are experiencing mental health issues because I know how difficult it can be to reach out, but I also know how much of a difference it can make.
Maya is from Juneau, Alaska and currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She graduated from Macalester College with a degree in American Studies. She likes walks, reading, cooking, and visual art.