Improving Youth Access to Mental Health Support through a Youth–Adult Partnership


  • Laurie Ross Clark University
  • Lindsay Carpenter Connors Fitchburg State University



youth–adult partnerships, mental health


Mental and behavioral health disorders are major issues facing young people in the United States; yet, the majority of youth who need support do not get help. Young people tend not to get help for 2 interacting reasons: system barriers that prevent youth from seeking help, and personal reasons that can influence them to forgo treatment. Youth–Adult Partnerships (Y-APs) have the potential to improve mental health programming and increase service utilization because they create space to blend youth and service provider knowledge and experience. This article provides a detailed case study of a youth–adult partnership’s 2-year community assessment and strategic planning process that led to the development of an innovative mental health model that has been sustained for 15 years. This article highlights the practices that contributed to adult transformation and the importance of adults’ roles as boundary spanners in the implementation and sustainability of an intervention that addresses both system barriers and personal reasons youth forgo mental health treatment.

Author Biography

Lindsay Carpenter Connors, Fitchburg State University

Academic and Career Coach


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