Transitions ACR Jan 2021 Newsletter
Happy New Year from Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research!

Here's hoping that 2021 is a year we can celebrate. We look forward to bringing you more mental health related content for youth, young adults, their families and supporters in the upcoming year.
Thank you for being part of our community.
Register Today for our
"Tips & Tricks to Developing and Sustaining
a Family Advisory Board" Webinar
Join us for our first webinar of 2021!
Tips and Tricks to Developing and Sustaining a Family Advisory Board

Have you ever considered starting up an Advisory Board for your organization? Join our webinar and learn the “Whys" and "How-Tos” to help you build and sustain an effective advisory board (even virtually).

Date: Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021
Time: 1:00-2:00PM ET

You will learn:
The purpose and value of utilizing Stakeholder Engagement Groups, such as a Family Advisory Board, in your organization.

We will share:
  • Tools for successful recruitment of board members
  • Strategies to keep your members engaged, even when meeting virtually
  • Tips and specifics for Advisory Board meetings
  • Successes and challenges with our Family Advisory Board
  • Sample materials and resources developed by our Family Advisory Board (FAB)

This webinar will be presented by our advisory board facilitators and a FAB member.
NEW Adulting is Hard Tip Sheet

Adulting is Hard: Understanding the College-to-Career Transition and Supporting Young Adults' Emotional Wellbeing
The transition from college to career includes many challenges, such as adjusting to a professional environment, the high costs of student loan repayment and independent living, and changes in social support networks. Many of these challenges affect a young person’s emotional wellbeing; however, limited attention has been paid in the literature or at the practice level to the emotional wellbeing of college graduates as they transition from college to career. To address this underrecognized issue, investigators from The Jed Foundation (JED), a leading nonprofit organization with a mission to protect the emotional health and prevent suicide among teens and young adults, and the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research (Transitions ACR) at the UMass Medical School collaborated on a study to better understand the experiences of young adults during the college-to-career transition and how these experiences effect emotional wellbeing. This tip sheet shares the results.
Massachusetts Young Adults!
Register NOW for our next HYPE courses.
Helping Youth on the Path to Employment (HYPE) provides flexible, solution-focused, career-oriented services to young adults with mental health conditions. Currently we are registering Massachusetts-based participants with lived experience between the ages of 18-30 for these 2 courses:

HYPE School Preparation beginning 1/25/21
-Helps students prepare to go back to College/ Vocational school, form organizational skills and understand accommodation services on college campuses

HYPE Career Decisions beginning 1/22/21
-Helps students assess career goals and understand career changes 
To register, email and let us know you are interested.
Check out more details here:
Find out how to bring HYPE to your community here:
Are You Wondering,
"Should I Go Back to College Next Semester?
Now is a good time to review the Tip Sheet we published for College Students this summer called: Should I Attend College in the Fall? Questions for Students with Mental Health Conditions to Consider.
As the pandemic continues into winter, and social distancing and mask wearing are the norm, college students with mental health conditions have another difficult decision to make. Should they return to classes for Spring semester? Will the plan that their college has presented for next semester be one that they can adapt to? Will the accommodations they might need be available? Will the way classes are being taught work for their learning style? This Tip Sheet from Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research poses questions that students will want to consider when thinking about the Spring semester.
Two Tip Sheets for High School Youth:
Leading Your IEP Meeting
Bringing Community Partners to Your IEP Meeting
These Tip Sheets were created by our TEST research team to help young adults take a leadership role in their IEP meetings. The Translating Evidence to Support Transitions (TEST) project has created practice guides to increase the use and adoption of 3 research-informed practices for the transition planning of high school students with emotional disturbance who receive special education services: student-led IEP meetings, community agency representation at IEP meetings, and concentrations of CTE coursework along career pathways. Find out more and download the practice guides at the TEST website.
YOU GOT THIS: Taking a Leadership Role in Your IEP Meeting

There are benefits linked to taking a leadership role in your IEP meeting. High school students who lead their IEP meetings tend to have higher graduation rates, go to college more often, and make more money in jobs after high school. Here are tips for leading your IEP meeting even when it's virtual.
Read/Download this Tip Sheet.
I'VE GOT MY CREW: Inviting Community Partners to your IEP Meeting

A community partner is a person from an organization outside of your high school that can help you plan for your life after graduation. It may be helpful to invite community partners to your IEP meetings, even if they are virtual, because partners can help you lay out your goals and the steps to take to meet those goals. Read/Download this Tip Sheet.
College to Career: Supporting Mental Health

The tip sheet posted above, "Adulting is Hard: Understanding the College-to-Career Transition and Supporting Young Adults' Emotional Wellbeing" summarizes a full report that Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research and the JED Foundation collaborated on called College to Career: Supporting Mental Health. This report was undertaken to better understand the challenges to emotional wellbeing faced by young adults during the college-to-career transition. We addressed the following questions:

1. What emotional challenges do college seniors face as they prepare to leave college?
2. What can colleges do to address these challenges?
3. What emotional challenges exist for recent college graduates entering the workforce? 4. How can employers support the emotional wellbeing of young adult hires?

Then we provided recommendations for colleges and employers and presented why it was important for these institutions to focus on mental wellness.
This Tip Sheet can help get you started running your Advisory Boards virtually. We have several advisory boards as part of our Stakeholder Engagement Program. Our Young Adult Advisory Board has always been virtual. Our Family Advisory Board was in-person until COVID, and now it is also virtual. Here are some basic guidelines for getting started with an advisory board online. Learn more by registering for our webinar, above.
Read the Tip Sheet HERE.
UMass Medical School behavioral health experts offer tips for coping with stress of pandemic COVID fatigue is real and is affecting mental health, said UMass Medical School behavioral health specialists. The Voices of UMassMed podcast series features in-depth conversations with the people of UMMS—from researchers to students to the leadership team. It is produced by the UMass Medical School Office of Communications. In a current episode, Dr. Christine Runyan says, “I have come to conceptualize a lot of what is happening in COVID as a disruption in our nervous system. The mind-body connection is actually quite sensitive to both what is real and what is imagined. So much of 2020 has been filled with uncertainty, and our brains do not like uncertainty.” Read more and listen to The Voices of UMassMed Podcast here.
Youth Advisory Board Creates Very Relatable Memes
Have you joined us on Instagram yet? This is where our young adults take over, including new memes created by our Youth Advisory Board. This stakeholder engagement group adds youth voice to the research we do. They will provide input throughout the entire process from development of interview questions to effective ways to translate the results into content that works for youth stakeholders. Along the way, they help us create some content for our social media channels, including Instagram. If you haven't checked out what we are dong there, visit us at

You can learn how to start your own youth advisory board from this pre-recorded webinar.

Or join our upcoming webinar on starting a Family Advisory Board and see what we've learned about virtual boards during a pandemic.
Our 2020 iSPARC Annual Report

The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Research Center of Excellence, the UMass Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC), is pleased to present our 2020 Annual Report. This report recaps the work our center has done over the past year, including our many new initiatives, our collaborations with the Massachusetts Dept. of Mental Health and other agencies, our community engagement programs and our stakeholder engagement programs. We encourage you to share it with colleagues. Read and download it HERE.
The Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research promotes the full participation in socially valued roles of transition-age youth and young adults (ages 14-30) with serious mental health conditions. The Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research (Transitions ACR) is located within the Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC) and houses The Learning & Working During the Transition to Adulthood Rehabilitation Research & Training Center (The Learning & Working RRTC), among other projects.
The Learning & Working RRTC is a national effort that aims to improve the supports of this population to successfully complete their schooling and training and move into rewarding work lives. 
Funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

As a Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Research Center of Excellence, iSPARC aims to improve the mental and behavioral health of all citizens of Massachusetts and beyond.
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Some of the contents of this message were developed under a grant with funding from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, United States Department of Health and Human Services (NIDILRR grant number 90RTEM0005). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this message do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, and/or HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

The Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research is part of the
Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center, 
a Massachusetts Dept. of Mental Health Research Center of Excellence.