Taking Flight is MCF’s statewide program for youth ages 18-26, led by four young women who use their personal experience with behavioral health challenges to help others. They provide informal peer support and connection, work to break through stigma, and advocate for positive system changes.
“I often say that I wish I had a group like Taking Flight to turn to when I was struggling the most with my mental health,” explains Haley Rizkallah, Senior Youth Engagement Specialist. “I always assumed that my peers were having no trouble navigating their jobs, housing, and relationships, which often made me feel even worse. Then I realized, with the help of friends who were willing to be vulnerable with me, that we all struggle and we all need support. Taking Flight’s informal peer support allows young adults to be honest about their struggles in an understanding environment.”
Taking Flight supports the development of a young adult peer network by organizing weekly ‘Alone Together’ online meet-ups and offering peer support via video chat on Zoom, and via text on Discord. The Zoom meet-ups cover a variety of themes surrounding behavioral health where youth and young adults can have honest conversations with peers. Recent discussion topics have included self-care and COVID-related topics such as social distancing, work instability, and telehealth.
“We are a part of a generation that is bringing light to mental health and substance use disorders like never before,” says Haley, “And I am excited to be a part of a program that trusts young adults to help each other and have a voice.” Stay up-to-date on Taking Flight’s peer support events is through Instagram and Facebook. For more information, please email Haley.