ARLINGTON, VA - The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has presented awards for exemplary national, state and local leadership as part of “NAMICon 2022, Together for Mental Health,” one of the nation’s largest gatherings of leaders and advocates across the mental health community.

The combined efforts of the award recipients are a force for positive change to improve the lives for both people with mental illness and their families. This year’s award winners include recognition of Amber Leyba-Castle, NAMI Idaho’s Young and Well Coordinator, with the Young Leader Award which honors a young adult (age 25 and under) who exemplifies exceptional leadership among their peers to foster a culture of recovery and resiliency that helps young people with mental illness live full lives in their communities.

“For the last 6 years, NAMI has been such a crucial part of my life in my own recovery process as well as sharing my recovery story with others.” Leyba-Castle said. “I am fortunate enough to work with the amazing NAMI Idaho team to reach our goals of early intervention, expanding our support programs for peers and families, connecting with faith communities, supporting judicial diversion and providing mental health trainings around the state.”

Leyba-Castle says her personal goal has always been to be the person she needed during the time of adversity she faced in her adolescence, and that NAMI has helped her reach this goal by supporting her work with the NAMI Idaho Rosebuds program for ages 12-17 and the NAMI on Campus program for ages 18-25 at the collegiate level. The program is based on a similar program she helped found as a student at Wood River Valley High School in Hailey.

“My story started very young which is why I am so passionate about providing support to youth in the state of Idaho.” She said. “I am excited to be a part of the continuous growth that NAMI Idaho has made to expand as a resource for Idahoans and their families to end the stigma of mental illness.” 

Leyba-Castle is currently an Idaho State University student where she is working to earn her PhD in Social Work.