Building relationships and collaboration with others requires making connections and maintaining trust with young adults and their family members, providers, other adult allies, and young adult peer group through respectful curiosity
about strengths, needs, and goals. Healthy relationships require we listen for understanding, validate young adults’ experiences, communicate in clear and positive ways, share information with respect for confidentially, openly consider the perspectives of others, manage conflicts honestly, and treat all colleagues fairly.

Relationships include members of the young adult’s care team that is the context
for Peer Mentoring. In the context of Young Adult Peer Mentoring, building relationships and collaboration means sharing the YAPM’s own lived experience with purpose and intent to:

  • Acknowledge and encourage young adults’ unique gifts, including the resiliency that comes from experiencing mental health challenges;

  • Acknowledge the possibility of mutuality (“when I help you, I help myself”);

  • Listen, from a peer perspective, to young adults’ challenges, hopes, and goals;

  • Foster communication between young adults, family members, providers, and allies to gain understanding of different perspectives;

  • Consider all actions, including the end of the YAPM relationship, in the context
    of young adults’ growing independence;

  • Support young adults to frame and communicate about differences in direct,
    effective ways.

“A good example of building relationships and developing a good rapport with youth was when I was working with a young man who was deathly afraid of the police, due to his experiences with being arrested and incarnated. I was able to build trust with him because I too have a criminal record and had been incarcerated, and I’ve been there and knew what he was talking about. By building trust, I was able to go with him to the police station and have him talk with the police chief and other officers so he could learn about their situation, day-to-day job…he even talked with the police officers that arrested him, and they gave him feedback…After this meeting, he had a better relationship and view of police officers, he was even able to build a positive relationship, and now the police reach out to him when there is an issue with a certain gang, and they have him connect with the youth. He has gone from being terrified of police to helping them, and that’s because of the relationship I was able to form by using my lived experience.” - Eddy Young Adult Peer Mentor