Introducing our Newest State Participants! National Learning Collaborative to Improve Systems of Mental Health Care for Adolescents and Young Adults (AYAs)
July 29, 2021

Anna Corona

​Earlier this month, the Adolescent & Young Adult Health National Resource Center hosted a virtual meeting to kick-off an 18-month learning collaborative which aims to improve access to depression screenings with linkage to high quality, culturally appropriate treatment if the screen is positive. The newest cohort is made up of five interdisciplinary teams in Arizona, California, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, with each team led by the state’s Title V maternal & child health (MCH) program. The kick-off meeting provided an expanded orientation to the overall project goal using a systems- and policy-level approach and provided foundational knowledge on strategies that can be implemented to achieve the project aim. There were two panels featuring youth and adult experts that discussed the importance of identity in mental health outcomes for AYAs and strategies for reaching AYAs in the changing landscape of mental health care during the time of COVID (click the links to access recordings of the panels). Check out the table below to learn more about how each of the five participating state team MCH action plans prioritize AYA mental health.

State Related Title V Priority Related State FY21 MCH Action Plan Objective 
Arizona Enhance equitable and optimal initiatives that positively impact the emotional, physical, and social wellbeing of adolescents Decrease the bullying rate (victimization) by 10%
California Enhance strengths, skills and supports to promote positive development and ensure youth are healthy and thrive By 2025, increase the percent of adolescents aged 12-17 who have an adult in their lives with whom they can talk to about serious problems from 77.2% to 79.7%
Iowa Improve access to care for the Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Population By 2025, decease the percent of adolescents who report that during the past 12 months they have felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for 2 weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities to 23.5%
Ohio Increase protective factors and improve systems to reduce risk factors associated with the prevalence of adolescent substance use By 2025, increase coordination and capacity of state and local partnership to support adolescent mental health and reduce adolescent substance use, including tobacco use
Pennsylvania Improve mental health, behavioral health and developmental outcomes for child and youth with and without special health care needs Annually increase the number of community-based organization staff trained in bullying awareness prevention program by 5% each year

Honoring BIPOC Mental Health Month – Important Resources for Title V Programs and their Partners

A major theme throughout the learning collaborative kick-off meeting was the importance of honoring, centering, and acknowledging identity as an essential practice in the provision of high-quality mental health care for AYAs. To emphasize this importance, we recommend that our readers take a moment to learn more about Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Month, which was created to increase awareness of the unique mental health challenges that BIPOC individuals living in the United States face (Mental Health America, 2021). The theme of this year’s observance is “Strength in Communities” and aims to elevate alternative mental health supports created by BIPOC and queer and trans BIPOC (QTBIPOC), for BIPOC and QTBIPOC (Mental Health America, 2021). As such, Mental Health America released a toolkit titled, “Strength in Communities” that lifts up three approaches to alternative mental health supports: community care, self-directed care, and culturally-based practices. The toolkit offers definitions, background information, and practical examples of each approach (on the tables found on pages 11-12 and 14). The resource concludes with a call to action of “What Can You Do” (pg. 17) and includes a list of resources and tools (pgs. 18-20) that are thoughtfully curated to improve mental health systems so they can be more inclusive and supportive of various identities.