Children/Adolescents > Transition Age Youth

Transition-Age Youth County Resource Guide

In an effort to assist counties with identifying resources for transition age youth and young adults, the Office of Mental Health and  Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is collecting and compiling information for a Transition-Age Youth County Resource Guide about programs/services aimed at addressing the needs of young adults. If you have information about resources available in your county or would like to update the information already listed, please fill out and submit this form.

State Level Transition Staff

Armed with the knowledge gained from the OMHSAS Transition Pilot projects, and realizing the unique needs of this population, a former OMHSAS deputy secretary created a position assigned solely to focus on issues relevant to transition age youth and young adults. Of particular concern was creating system capacity to meet the needs of this group in their home and community settings, thus preventing admission to inpatient facilities, residential treatment facilities and possible admission to the state hospital system.

Position responsibilities include providing leadership in planning and development of innovative service models for behavioral health treatment and supports for the transition age population; the evaluation of program implementation for this population at the county level, and analyzing performance and outcome data for transition age youth and young adult cross system initiatives.

For more information contact Doris Arena.

Adult County Mental Health Plan Reviews

On a yearly basis, counties submit to OMHSAS an adult county mental health plan that outlines how each county will plan for and implement the provisions of public mental health services to the residents of that county, including special needs populations such as older adults, consumers with co-occurring issues and transition age youth.

Youth and Family Training Institute

Through a contract with the University of Pittsburgh funded by OMHSAS, the Youth and Family Training Institute, which is grounded in the High Fidelity Wraparound model, includes many of the Transition to Independence guidelines and principles that have resulted in successful program outcomes for transition age youth and young adults.

More about the Youth and Family Training Institute

Additional Resources on Transition

  • Starting College With a Psychiatric Illness, Facts for Families, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • “Co-Occurring Disorders,” Focal Point, Summer 2014; examines treatment and services for young adults with mental health challenges and substance use issues.
  • 2013 Awareness Day Short Report: “SAMHSA: Promoting Recovery and Independence for Older Adolescents and Young Adults Who Experience Serious Mental Health Challenges”
  • Promoting Positive Pathways to Adulthood: Online Training to Support Young people with Mental Health Needs
  • Things People Never Told Me: when you start living on your own from foster care, there are some things in life that people seem to forget to tell you about.  From the Better Futures Project, Research and Training, Center for Pathways to Positive Futures at Portland State University: “Transitioning out of foster care can be a difficult and confusing process. We interviewed a group of young adults who either had navigated or were in the process of navigating that transition in order to gain insight into important life areas such as finances, employment, healthcare, transportation, and relationships, among others. We hope that by learning from their experiences as well as their suggestions, youth leaving foster care will be equipped with the necessary tools to become independent and successful adults.”
  • Tip Sheets for Transition Service Providers
  • RENEW (Rehabilitation for Empowerment, Natural supports, Education and Work), a facilitated planning and support process for youth who are struggling in school, at home, and in the community, from the University of New Hampshire Center for Excellence on Disability. Projects include training for community-based organization and school staff members, model research and evaluation, and consultation on implementation of the model.
  • A Better Life: A Youth Guide to Treatment and Treatment Planning, by Mary Grealish and Mark Chaven, Community Partners, Inc.
  • Youth and Young Adults in Transition, PA CASSP Newsletter, June 2010
  • PA Community on Transition Shared Work Site (you’ll need to register to enter the site)
  • National Community of Practice in Support of Transition
  • Transitions for Youth
  • This site for young adults is designed specifically as an online social networking community for individuals ages 18 and 35 who are hard of hearing.
  • This new site supports the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Mental Health Campaign for Mental Health Recovery to encourage, educate, and inspire people between 18 and 25 to support their friends who are experiencing mental health problems. SAMHSA recently reported that “there are an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 or older living with serious mental illness. Among adults, the prevalence of serious mental illness is highest in the 18 to 25 age group, yet this age group is also the least likely to receive services or counseling for mental health issues.” SAMHSA is also collaborating with the Advertising Council on a series of public service announcements to encourage young adults to support friends and family with mental health issues.
  • Community-based Approaches for Supporting Positive Development in Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions, by Janet Walker and Kris Gowen, Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University, 2011.
  • How to Search for Quality Mental Health Information Online, an online tutorial designed to help young adults and their caregivers search effectively for reliable mental health information on the Internet.
  • Youth Transition Toolkit: A Guide for Young People with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood.
  • Becoming an Adult: Challenges for Those with Mental Health Conditions, Research Brief #3 from the Transitions RTC at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, 2011. Webinar on same topic.
  • National Campaign Raises Awareness About Mental Health Problems in Multicultural Communities
    SAMHSA, in collaboration with the Ad Council, has launched a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign to promote recovery from mental health problems within multicultural communities by educating and inspiring young adults to talk openly about issues of mental health. The culturally targeted PSAs seek to motivate societal change toward social acceptance and decrease negative attitudes that may surround mental illness. These PSAs are part of a larger multicultural public service effort designed to reach the Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Chinese American and African American communities.  Links to information about PSAs: