Annie Young, 24, is a Family Transition Specialist in Somerset County. She works one-on-one with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and individuals with behavioral health challenges (mental health and/or substance use).
I didn’t have much experience going in—just my education, but that qualified me for a BHP/EdTech3 certification, which my company provided for me. I worked with kids ages seven to 18 with emotional, behavioral, and social challenges in both schools and in their homes. Today, I work with youth in the residential program who are preparing to leave and help them transition back to their homes and communities.
Kids would tell me that my teaching style helped them. For some, I became one of their preferred staff. Most of the kids I work with have a traumatic background. Having lived through my own life experiences and traumatic events, I was able to give kids more individualized care by being relatable and compassionate about their trauma.
This field would benefit from having energetic, empathetic, and passionate workers. More community education around mental health would be beneficial and would maybe get more people interested in working in the field. Being able to lower the stigma around mental health is important, too. And, being honest about the fact that this job is not glamorous, but it’s rewarding might make it more relatable to people.