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Interventions and Service Delivery Models for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood

NAMHC Concept Clearance


Joel Sherrill, Ph.D.
Chief, Psychosocial Treatment Research Program
Child and Adolescent Treatment and Preventive Intervention
Research Branch, Division of Services and Intervention Research


The intent of this proposed initiative is to address gaps in intervention and service delivery for youth in the period of transition to adulthood. Disorder-specific, evidence-based treatments and traditional acute-care treatment models often are inadequate for achieving optimal outcomes and functioning for people in this age range. A review of the child and adolescent research portfolios reveals a dearth of studies in this area.

The transition from youth to adulthood is a time of risk. Onset of severe mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, often occurs during this age range and is associated with several negative outcomes. Care often is complicated by co-occurring problems, such as high-risk behaviors. In addition, changes in legal status, from minor to independent, may disrupt insurance coverage for mental-health services and may cause other disruptions. The venue for mental-health services also shifts during this period. Schools, child welfare, and pediatrics settings often are de facto service sites for younger children, while criminal justice settings, mental-health specialty, primary care, or worksite settings often serve older adolescents and young adults. The proposed initiative would refine and test innovative interventions and service delivery models for this vulnerable population.

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