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Removing Barriers to Prosperity

The Center for Youth Mental Health is a program of the Department of Psychiatry established through a grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Its mission is to encourage and invest in ideas that can support transition-age youth with mental illness as they become healthy, productive, independent adults. The center partners with organizations and individuals on their plans to implement, evaluate and research new ideas and programs to tackle this very real and solvable challenge.

More About the Center

  • Form a multidisciplinary, academic/community incubator to design, test and deploy new models of mental health care that eliminate barriers, fill gaps and establish effective treatments for transition-age youth;
  • Close gaps in treatment outcomes between white transition-age youth and youth of color;
  • Develop and rapidly test treatment advances that support better function, staying in school and staying at work;
  • Implement findings quickly into the community infrastructure to improve outcomes in Central Texas and develop sustainable models in the process;
  • Become a national model for supporting young people between the ages of 16-25 years old with mood and anxiety disorders through rapid dissemination of research findings; and
  • Create a community platform to drive changes in mental health policy and reimbursement in Central Texas to enhance sustainability of new treatment approaches.
Photo of a young female sharing photo with a group

Why is Transition-Age Research Important?

Fifty percent of adults with a mental illness report their symptoms began in their early teens, and 75 percent report their symptoms began by age 24. Despite the increased risk of mental health concerns, older adolescents and young adults seek treatment at lower rates than any other age group. This disruption in treatment engagement for individuals who are 16-25 years old, also called transition-age youth, is untimely. At this age, major mental illnesses first emerge and place those individuals at risk for high school dropout, unemployment, housing instability and criminal justice involvement.