Center for Youth Mental Health
Removing Barriers to Prosperity
The Center for Youth Mental Health is a program of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences established through a grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. It envisions a mental health system that truly meets the developmental needs and goals of adolescents and young adults.
The center works alongside partners to strengthen relationships among local, state and community-based initiatives to identify gaps and systemic barriers that prevent adolescents and young adults from getting the appropriate care at the right time and place.
The center aims to ensure coordinated, effective, right-sized care is easily accessible in Central Texas to support adolescents in becoming healthy, productive and independent adults.
Emerging Voices Advocacy Council
The Center for Youth Mental Health, in its prioritized commitment to uplift the voices and lived experiences of young people, supports the Emerging Voices Advocacy Council, the center’s youth and young adult advisory effort.
The Emerging Voices Advocacy Council is youth and young-adult led to ensure effective empowerment and voice for young people who experience mental health needs. The council works toward ensuring its mission of solidifying the bridge between the community and effective mental health support. The council aims to challenge stigma, hold health professionals accountable and normalize emerging adults’ experiences to provide the support they need to succeed.
- Stephen Strakowski, M.D.; principal investigator
- Deborah Cohen, Ph.D., MSW; co-principal investigator
- Cory Morris, MSW; state and local mental health initiatives coordinator
- Laura Stevens, M.Ed., LPC; lead clinical trainer
- Kaleigh Emerson, MPH; project manager
- Da’Keona Jones, youth advisory lead
The Center for Youth Mental Health welcomes a limited number of interns for the fall, spring and summer semesters. If interested in applying or learning more about internship opportunities, please complete the interest form.
To reach the Center for Youth Mental Health directly, email the team or call 512-495-5312.
Why Is Transition-Age Research Important?
Fifty percent of adults with a mental illness report their symptoms began in their early teens, and 75% 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 to 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.