The transition to adulthood is challenging for all youth, but it is especially perilous for youth with mental health conditions. Youths and young adults ages 16-24 with serious and persistent mental health needs and their family members often have difficulty accessing appropriate mental health, employment, education, and housing services. This is problematic because research suggests that decisions made during the transition to adulthood can have a dramatic effect on the rest of a person’s life.
One model that provides a framework for assisting youth with mental health experiences in the transition to adulthood is called Transition to Independence Process, or TIP. As part of its role in coordinating the planning phase of the Transition Age Youth and Family “TAYF” initiative in Houston, TNOYS recently invited Dr. Marc Fagan of the National Network on Youth Transition to present the TIP model to agencies participating in the initiative.
The TIP model addresses transition needs in five domains: employment and career; living situation; educational opportunity; personal effectiveness and well-being; and community life functioning. It specifies seven guidelines for working with transition-age youth to improve outcomes:
1) Engage young people through relationship development, person-centered planning, and a focus on their futures
2) Tailor services and supports to be accessible, coordinated, appealing, non-stigmatizing, developmentally appropriate
3) Acknowledge and develop personal choice and social responsibility with young people
4) Ensure a safety net of support by involving a young person’s parents, family, and other informal and formal key players
5) Enhance young persons’ competencies to assist them in achieving greater self-sufficiency and confidence
6) Maintain an outcome focus in the TIP system at the young person, program, and community levels
7) Involve young people, parents, and other community partners in the TIP system at the practice, program, and community levels
The TAYF Initiative, funded by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, seeks to improve service delivery for transition-age youth with mental health conditions in Houston. A key component of the initiative is engagement of youth and family members in the planning, design, and implementation of programs. In addition to TNOYS, grantees include Communities in Schools of Houston, Family Services of Greater Houston, Star of Hope Mission, Easter Seals of Greater Houston, Baylor College of Medicine, Disability Rights Texas, City of Houston Health and Human Services, and Harris County Child Protective Services.