Spotlight on Young Adults is a quarterly newsletter dedicated to promoting resources, perspectives, and organizations that support youth and young adult (YYA) advocates, advocates for YYA, and YYA-serving professionals.

Reach out to our YYA Co-Leads, Kristin Thorp and Gwen White to let us know what you think of Spotlight on Young Adults! What would you like to see more of? Who do you want to hear from?
Suicide Prevention
Though September was Suicide Awareness month, youth suicide prevention remains an important topic year-round. Suicide rates have been increasing for two decades now, and with the onset of the pandemic, the CDC reports that nearly 1 in 4 young people aged 18 to 24 have seriously considered suicide. Here are a few tools we think you’ll find valuable:

Forefront Suicide Prevention, a Center of Excellence at the University of Washington, has developed a new Suicide Prevention Month 2020 Toolkit. This toolkit highlights key information from Forefront's LEARN Saves Lives training curriculum, and includes resources for schools and families, access to recordings of Forefront and partner webinars, images you can share via social media, and COVID-19 resources related to suicide prevention.

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Early detection is a critical prevention strategy. The majority of people who die by suicide visit a healthcare provider within months before their death. The Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) toolkit is a validated tool designed to screen medical patients ages 8 years and above for risk of suicide. The ASQ toolkit is organized by the medical setting in which it will be used: emergency department, inpatient medical/surgical unit, and outpatient primary care and specialty clinics.

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Suicide has disproportionately increased among Latinx and Hispanic adolescents and young adults. In this recent webinar, the National Hispanic and Latino Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) and Northwest MHTTC describe trends in suicide, suicidal thoughts, and behaviors in Hispanic/Latinx YYA; identify culture-specific risk and protective factors; share programs that have integrated culture-specific experiences; and offer screening resources.

Youth-driven practices are a core tenet of the System of Care philosophy. Being youth-driven means recognizing that young people have a right to be empowered, educated, and given a decision-making role in the care of their own lives as well as the policies and procedures governing care for all youth in the community, state, and nation. This includes giving young people a sustainable voice and then listening to that voice. For youth-driven practices to succeed, supportive adults and allies need to champion the voices of youth and young adults in child-serving systems.

Check out this blog from Gwen White on being a supportive ally!
Meet the voice from the field:
Gwendolyn White

Gwen White’s career of developing innovative approaches to mental health service delivery for children, young adults, and families, has spanned decades, states, and many, many roles. Gwendolyn is a content expert on transition to independence and successful adaptation of adult roles and responsibilities for youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions and their families. For over 35 years, Gwen has worked on developing innovative approaches to mental health service delivery for children, young adults, and families. From Project Director of federal grants in Pennsylvania, to national Training and Technical Assistance expert roles at Georgetown University, CARS, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Gwen has brought her expertise on young adult transitions and systems transformation to many of us. No matter what role Gwen is holding, she is sure to be found in partnership with young adults.
Watch: Why Census Matters in Fighting for LGBTQ+ Youth in Foster Care

Tymber Hudson (They/She) is a national social justice activist who currently serves as the head of Strategic Initiatives at the Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation in Pittsburgh, PA. Tymber has been a guest Subject Matter Expert on a Young Adult Learning Community call and will be continuing to be an invited guest this fall. Join Tymber for our October Young Adult Learning Community.

Over the past 10 years, Tymber has worked as an independent consultant and served as the LGBTQ+ policy associate at the Biden Foundation. Tymber managed a national public education and storytelling campaign “As You Are;” facilitated youth roundtables centering the experiences of young people with intersectional identities; and provided technical assistance and research support to other national youth-serving organizations working to implement LGBTQ+ inclusion and equity into their programs, policies, and practices. Tymber also served as a Congressional Intern for Congresswoman Karen Bass.

Tymber continues to use their personal experience and knowledge to educate and ignite change for all youth.
Partner Showcase: Youth MOVE Peer Center

Across the country, recovery-oriented services and consumer-run organizations, including youth and family-run organizations, are increasingly seen as vital supports within the mental health service array. Youth MOVE National’s Peer Center was established in July 2020, with grant funding support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

As a youth-run peer organization, Youth MOVE National honors lived experience and recognizes the value of both traditional and non-traditional supports. The Youth MOVE Peer Center serve peers across the lifespan, their families, and providers of all ages, to grow the youth peer movement across the United States. As one of five funded Centers, they look forward to collaborating with partners to improve and sustain the implementation of peer and recovery-oriented services and supports.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out their website!
Learning Community for Young Professionals Working with Young Adults

Wednesday, October 28
Fourth Wednesday of Each Month
6-7 p.m. ET / 3-4 p.m. PT / 12-1 p.m. HT (view your time zone)

Come join us every fourth Wednesday of the month for a new opportunity to connect with others who share concern and passion for developmentally appropriate and appealing systems and supports for youth and young adults. Maybe you're a peer support provider or a new professional with lived experience working in mental health advocacy. Whatever your role, if you are a young adult professional seeking to make peer-to-peer connections and develop your professional capacity, this learning community serves as a forum to learn and build skills with other mental health workforce professionals.

In addition to the valuable expertise each participant brings, we host guest subject matter experts. In October, Tymber Hudson (they/she) and Taylor Blanco (she/her) will join us to facilitate an ongoing conversation on the current social justice landscape.
We hope you will join us in shared learning, engaging conversations, and young professional networking. The target audience for this learning community is young professionals working with YYA of transition age. This is a great opportunity for young professionals to build their capacity to work with YYA and connect to peers doing similar work. As a community, we encourage members to serve as peer facilitators and be engaged to maximize the exchange of ideas and strategies for better serving youth and young adults.

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Pacific Southwest School Mental Health Wellness Wednesdays
Connect • Reflect • Support

2nd Wednesday of each month
Next Session: November 11
5-6 p.m. ET / 2-3 p.m. PT / 12-1 p.m. HT (view your time zone)

We are so pleased that our School Mental Health Wellness Wednesdays are back. For the coming program year, we’ll offer 60-minute virtual sessions for the school mental health workforce to connect, reflect, and support each other. The Wellness Wednesdays will occur every second Wednesday of each month and will be led by Pacific Southwest MHTTC School Mental Health staff (Leora Wolf-Prusan and Oriana Ides). Please note that Wellness Wednesdays are not a sequence; you can join some or all.

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Have you heard about our West Coast Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF) Party for school-based professionals in the Northwest and Pacific Southwest regions?

Join SMI Adviser on November 12-13 for a free virtual conference on Advancing Early Psychosis Care in the United States: Addressing Inequities – Race, Culture, and COVID. The agenda includes 20 sessions across four learning tracks: System-Level Improvements, The Human Experience, Culturally Informed Care, and The New Normal. Continuing education units are available.

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Transitions ACR recently released Before a Mental Health Crisis Hits: Creating a Family Safety Plan, a helpful tip sheet that overviews the process of developing a family safety plan. This plan is created collaboratively with family members and becomes a “playbook” of the best ways to minimize or divert a mental health crisis with a family member. The tip sheet also includes a template for building an emergency plan.

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Pathways RTC’s new research brief, Exploring College Student Identity Among Young People With Foster Care Histories and Mental Health Challenges, shares findings from a study that explored the perspectives of college students participating in the Project FUTURES intervention. Researchers used qualitative interviews to better understand how the relationship between students’ foster care identity and their newly forming student identities might impact academic success.

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Unlocking Transformation and Healing: The Center for Law and Social Policy’s (CLASP) youth and young adult mental health framework calls for policies that increase access to healing, transformative mental health supports for this population. Through their Policy Advancing Transformation and Healing (PATH) initiative, CLASP collaborated with partners to test this framework, advancing systems and policy changes for transition-age YYA. Read CLASP’s series of briefs on state and local policy options to improve community-based care, confidentiality, and increased access to healing.

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Self-care for wraparound professionals is vital to the effectiveness of the wraparound process. Passionate helping professionals like wraparound practitioners may not consider their own needs, or they may be preoccupied with their responsibilities. A Practical Guide to Self-Care for Helping Professionals was written to affirm that, for helping professionals in the wraparound field, proper self-care is both a responsibility and a necessity.

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COVID-19 has changed the way mental health professionals and youth peers serve their populations. Pathways RTC’s recent webinar, Supporting Youth Peers During COVID-19, addressed approaches your organization can use for supporting youth peer staff, supervision strategies for supporting youth peers, and recommendations on how youth peer support specialists can support their young peers while maintaining boundaries.

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The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in partnership with New York University and Youth MOVE National are conducting a nationwide survey to better understand youth experiences in depression care. The goal is to identify what is helpful, what is harmful, as well as to identify strategies for screening, treatment, and follow-up care. Young adults between the ages of 18-25 who has received depression care during adolescence (12 to 18) are eligible to participate. Upon successful completion, there will be an opportunity to enter a raffle for a $25 Amazon gift card!

Contact the Pacific Southwest MHTTC
Toll-Free: 1-844-856-1749  Email:  
Disclaimer: The views, opinions, and content expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).