Mental Health Waiver Youth Peer Advocate Training

YOUTH POWER! and Cornell University created a training for Youth Peer Advocates in the Office of Mental Health Home and Community Based Waiver programs.  YP! is currently offering a limited number of training opportunities for OMH Waiver Youth Peer Advocates.

NOTE: YOUTH POWER! is also in the process of developing the Youth Peer Services and Training (YPST) credential and accompanying training under the State Plan that will be more broadly available upon its completion and approved release. Those who are interested in becoming a Youth Peer Advocate, but are not actively serving or preparing to serve under the OMH Waiver, can contact their local Regional Youth Partner for professional development, networking, and training opportunities while awaiting the release of the training and credential. 

Preview the OMH Waiver YPA online training component:

Visit the OMH Waiver Youth Peer Advocate Training Site.

We offer the following trainings for youth who are interested in speaking up for themselves and others:


  • Speaking up for yourself and confronting negative beliefs
  • Creating goals
  • Getting connected to the peer movement


  • Speaking up for yourself
  • Communication skills
  • How to learn your rights
  • Tips on attending meetings
  • Reaching out for help
  • Creating a plan of action to get your needs met

Peer Support:

  • One-on-one Support
  • Support Groups

Peer Advocacy:

  • Purpose and Meaning
  • Peer Empowerment
  • Information Sharing
  • Helping others form goals and plans
  • Attending meetings

Systems Advocacy

  • Why become involved—what can you accomplish?
  • How to get involved
  • Forming your objectives/goals
  • Creating a campaign
  • Government advisory & advocacy
  • Developing a personal leadership plan

Youth Advisory Councils (YAC):

  • Set Up
  • Defining a purpose and structure
  • Bylaws and governance
  • Facilitation
  • Keeping your YAC strong


  • Using art and creative expression to spread a social message
  • History and examples
  • Create your own artivism piece

Our History:

  • History of YOUTH POWER! and the NY state youth movement
  • Disability Civil Rights Movement
  • Learning from Family support
  • Adult Mental Health Peer Movements

Building your Professional Career:

  • How to use your experience as a youth leader to build a successful career


For adults who would like to know how to better engage youth in their organization or agency we offer a training that covers the following topic areas:

  • Why Youth Involvement and Empowerment?
  • Readiness Evaluation
  • Foundations for Youth Involvement for Organizations and Agencies
  • Examples of Youth Involvement and leadership
  • Strategies for Engaging, Supporting and Sustaining Youth Partners
  • Planning for the Future

Our trainings are designed to be interactive and customizable. We reference a wealth of information on youth development, involvement and leadership and will be able to link you with a variety of resources. All of our trainers are young adults who have personal experience as a youth leader and currently facilitate youth involvement for an agency or organization. Our lead trainers have over 10 years of experience and are trained from a variety of sources.

Click here for information on YP!’s adult trainings. Click here for YP!’s flyer on trainings.