Fairbanks Native Association (FNA) is applying for the SAMHSA Healthy Transitions: Improving Life Trajectories for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Disorders Program. The proposed project’s purpose is to improve and expand access to developmentally and culturally appropriate services and supports for transition-aged youth and young adults (ages 16-25) who have, or are at risk for developing, serious mental health conditions.
The proposed Transitions Project will serve American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), a highly at-risk population with disproportionate rates of all negative indicators of wellbeing and disproportionate access to care. AI/AN have the highest rate of Serious Mental Illness and AI/AN youth the highest rate of lifetime major depressive episodes of any race/ethnicity. Almost all of the youth in our co-occurring substance abuse and mental health residential treatment unit have a Serious Emotional Disturbance diagnosis (98.3%). FNA provides the developmentally and culturally appropriate behavioral health services and supports the target population needs. The challenge is getting this population into services. We estimate over 50% of those who need these services are not accessing them.
FNA is guided by an FNA-sponsored 22-member Behavioral Health Community Coalition (BHCC) and provides the most extensive continuum of behavioral health care in Alaska. This continuum includes Street Outreach for Homeless Youth, Education, Parent Training, Prevention (Suicide & Trauma), Intervention (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment and Harm Reduction), Assessment, Crisis Intervention, Outpatient & Residential Treatment, Trauma Treatment, Mental Health Therapy, Family Therapy, and Transitional Living for Homeless Youth.
As a consequence of partnership with the BHCC, FNA provides the majority of this grant program’s Required Activities. Therefore our Transitions Project will focus primarily on increasing access to care using a three-pronged approach; 1) implementing the Required Activities not in place, 2) conducting extensive outreach that includes a two-person Peer Outreach team to recruit the target population, and 3) a Social Marketing Campaign to enroll the resistant target population into needed services. Proposed marketing and outreach efforts will address a significant problem in our service area. While a disproportionated number of AI/AN TAY&YA suffer from behavioral health issues and conditions, this population tends to reject the very services they need. Increasing access to and enrollment in these services is key to improving life trajectories for the target population.
All TAY&YA referred will begin in the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) service unit. Following screening, clients will be enrolled in the project by an Enrollment Specialist. At enrollment, the Enrollment Specialist will collect NOMS and introduce the client to the Youth and Young Adult Coordinator and Parent Support Specialist and then conduct a warm transfer of the client to the Assessment Unit which will assess and refer the client to the appropriate service unit. The Enrollment Specialist will track all clients referred through the outreach and social marketing campaign from referral to discharge and follow-up to determine the success of Transitions. All enrolled clients will receive peer support training weekly at the enrolled service unit. Parent training will be office based and occur weekly as well.
The project will serve 331 individuals over the five year life of the project. Of these 48 are referrals from the Marketing Campaign, 95 referrals from outreach, 143 family members receiving parenting training and 45 provider staff receiving cross-training.