Mental Health & Well-Being
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Supporting Youth Mental Health

Adolescence is the phase of development where many mental health issues arise. AHI offers resources in various formats, from trainings to practice change guides.

Why it Matters

During adolescence, young people are at the peak of their physical health, emotional growth and creativity. This is also the phase of development where many mental health issues arise. Both medical and behavioral health providers can play a crucial role in ensuring adolescents’ mental health needs are met so they can thrive.

AHI offers mental health resources in various formats, from trainings to practice change guides:

Power Meeting

Integrated Behavioral Health

Many adolescent-serving health centers find it challenging to implement effective collaboration between primary care and behavioral health providers. Integrating behavioral health services into primary care settings usually entails implementing new workflows for screening, communications, billing, and arranging for provider and staff training. 

To help sites tackle common challenges with integrating behavioral health services, we created the Power Meeting: Integrated Behavioral Health, an interactive, web-based tool that guides interdisciplinary teams through one meeting where they work through activities and create a customized, actionable plan over the course of two hours.

Access the Power Meeting

Timely Topics Trainings
Trauma-Informed Care with Adolescent Patients

For adolescents who have experienced trauma, visiting a health center can be uncomfortable, and even re-traumatizing. Providers have the potential to create health care experiences that are comforting and reassuring. The Trauma-Informed Care with Adolescent Patients Timely Topics module provides a brief outline of the impacts of trauma on adolescents and shares strategies for practicing trauma-responsive care in a primary care setting.

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Teens sit in a waiting room
Suicide Prevention in Primary Care

CONTENT WARNING: This module discusses suicide and mental illness. Some of the content may be emotional and challenging to engage with, depending on your personal experiences.

As suicide remains one of the leading causes of death for adolescents, and barriers to accessing mental health care remain high, primary care providers often become the entry point of mental health care for these patients. These trends highlight a need for primary care providers to be trained in identifying, treating, and managing depression and suicidal ideation among youth. To support providers’ learning on these topics, AHI is piloting its new Adolescent Suicide Prevention in Primary Care Timely Topics module. This resource provides evidence-based guidance on these topics and strategies that can be implemented in a primary care setting.

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Adolescent Sexual Health for Behavioral Health Clinicians

CONTENT WARNING: This module broadly discusses trauma and sexual violence. Depending on your personal experience, some of the content may be emotional and challenging.

Youth-friendly sexual and mental health care are two of adolescents’ biggest priorities in their overall health care. AHI’s youth council members report feeling like their therapists often aren’t comfortable talking about sexual health, including relationships, sexuality, and gender identity. Behavioral health providers have the opportunity to set an affirming, supportive atmosphere for adolescents to discuss these topics in a safe, confidential space. Timely Topics: Adolescent Sexual Health for Behavioral Health Clinicians was developed in partnership with AHI’s Teen Advisory Council and clinicians, and it is intended to assist behavioral health care providers in navigating strengths-based, youth-friendly sexual health-related conversations with adolescent and young adult clients.

Access the module

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Spark Trainings
Brief trainings for your multidisciplinary team

Sparks are designed for providers or staff to deliver in 15-30 minutes at staff meetings or professional development opportunities. These trainings will “spark” discussion and reflection among your multidisciplinary team. All sparks include a PowerPoint presentation, a facilitator outline and follow-up materials.

View Sparks Training library
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Being Youth-Friendly (For Behavioral Health Providers)

Identify key staff and provider behaviors essential to providing youth-friendly care with your team.

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Cultural Responsiveness

Identify and discuss key concepts about providing culturally responsive health care to young people and reflect on various cultural norms unique to adolescence.

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Being an Askable Adult

Discuss strategies adults can use to help youth feel comfortable asking for support and refer them to services like health care or mental health.

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Confidentiality Best Practices - For Behavioral Health Providers

Explore best practices for providing confidential care to adolescents in a behavioral health setting.

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Consent & Confidentiality Laws - For Behavioral Health

Deepen your understanding of confidentiality and consent laws as they relate to behavioral health.

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Principles of Trauma-Informed Care for Adolescent Patients

Deepen your understanding of how trauma impacts adolescent patients and how to create trauma-informed spaces to support their health and well-being.

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Starter Guides
Adolescent Mental Health in Primary Care

Having a trusted adult to talk with about serious problems can reduce the occurrence of mental health concerns and suicidality in young people. Medical providers have a unique opportunity to support young people, help identify signs of mental health concerns early, and connect youth to life-saving treatment and resources.

Trauma-Informed Care for Adolescents in Primary Care

Unfortunately, experiencing or being exposed to trauma is a common occurrence among adolescents. It is important that primary care settings are equipped to meet the needs of adolescents who are impacted by trauma.

Dr. Jeffrey P. Winer, an attending psychologist within the Trauma and Community Resilience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and an instructor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School lead this plenary address, "Mental Health Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Youth," at the 2021 Conference on Adolescent Health.

Dr. Polly Gipson, PhD, presented this keynote address virtually at AHI’s 2020 Connection Session on adolescent-centered, trauma-informed care in clinical settings.

Strategies from the Field: Three 15-minute Talks on adolescent-centered, trauma-informed care from AHI’s 2020 Connection Session.

About the ACE-AP
ACE AP logo

For years, the Adolescent Health Initiative (AHI) has been eager to bring the principles of the Adolescent-Centered Environment Assessment Process (ACE-AP) for primary care to a behavioral health setting. With support from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, we adapted our original intervention to be implemented in behavioral health centers.

The ACE-AP for Behavioral Health (ACE-AP: BH) is a facilitated, comprehensive self-assessment and guided improvement process that includes customized resources, recommendations, technical assistance, and implementation plans using Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) improvement cycles. The ACE-AP: BH process aims to remove barriers to change and streamlines implementation to improve care delivery to adolescents, specifically in behavioral health.

The ACE-AP for Behavioral Health is currently in its pilot phase of implementation. If you are interested in bringing the ACE-AP for Behavioral Health to your health center or would like to collaborate on this project, please contact us.

Poster with information on adolescent behavior studies

There are eleven sections in the ACE-AP: BH covering these domains:

  • Access to Care
  • Adolescent Appropriate Environment
  • Confidentiality
  • Best Practices and Standards of Care
  • Respectful Treatment
  • Parent & Caregiver Engagement
  • Community Engagement
  • Trauma-Informed Care
  • Integrated/Coordinated Care
  • Cultural Responsiveness
  • Adolescent Involvement and Empowerment
We Can Help

Are you looking to improve your practices in the care of your adolescent patients?

Contact us