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Transition Protocol Design Studio, October 2017
mindyourmind and professionals involved in London’s Transition Age Project (TAP) worked with 10 young people from London, ON and area: Alec, Alex, Christel, Cole, Elora, Jesse, Jourdan, Luke, Rachael, and Scarlett.
As part of what is called the Transition Age Project (TAP), local service providers and mental health organizations in the London-Middlesex area have committed to developing a plan and protocol for youth in child and adolescent mental health services who are close to reaching the age cut off for these services but are still needing more help. The goal of the protocol is for youth with mental health and addiction issues in the London-Middlesex area to have a planned, consistent, and successful transition from child and adolescent mental health services into appropriate adult services.TAP’s Community Implementation Team (TAPCIT), which is a community partnership, met over a period of a year to discuss what would be important for this tool and how to make it youth-friendly. They wanted mindyourmind’s help to co-create the tool with young people in London and area.
mindyourmind recruited a group of interested and passionate young people ages 16-26 who either would be approaching the transition soon or who had already received treatment in both the youth and adult systems. We wanted their input on what they think would be helpful in the plan, whether that was from the perspective of someone who is currently feeling anxious and overwhelmed at the thought of aging out of youth services or from the perspective of those who had already gone through the process (with or without a smooth transition). Over the course of a weekend we facilitated a Design Studio with these young people to brainstorm, journey map, review other current transition protocol tools across the province, and narrow down what they thought London’s should look like and include. They provided mindyourmind with a lot of great content and ideas to work with and put together. Stay tuned for the final product!
Many studies have shown that the most common outcome of a poor transition is that youth with enduring mental health concerns and continuing needs disengage from service, and this is happening in approximately 60% of known cases (Ontario Centre of Excellence, 2011). A large portion of these youth are then resurfacing in the system a few years later but in inpatient and crisis settings (Pottick et al., 2008), and this suggests that without a proper transition young people are falling through the cracks and they aren’t getting help again until their condition severely worsens. TAPCIT wanted to put a protocol and plan in place for London so that service providers have some tools and guidelines to ensure young people know their options and are being supported as they transition into adult services, rather than being left to figure it out on their own and potentially falling through the cracks as mentioned above.
Tools for Youth and Service Providers
The following are answers provided by the youth participants to these two questions on the last day of the Design Studio: 1) how do you hope this tool will help young people and 2) what is one random fact about you
- I hope that the tool will help youth be able to navigate and take charge in their mental health more thoroughly
- I have overcome my mental illnesses and have been able to remain stable without medication
- I hope it helps youth with transition to adult services
- I have been able to deal with my illness with the help of youth services
- I hope this tool aids youth with a positive transition so they do not fall through the cracks of the mental health system.
- I am a second year university student and I hope to one day bring light and support to the lives of youth with mental health issues.
- I hope to put an end to youth falling through the cracks in the system and to ensure the appropriate care for all individuals.
- I have learned to embrace the differences instilled in me by my illness and have become stronger because of it.
- My hope for these tools is to better inform youth about the transition into the more adult side of mental health services, and to help make that transition as smooth as possible without falling backwards.
- I have been able to come to accept who I am, despite of my mental health struggles that have challenged me along the way. With time, patience and the proper supports, it's very possible to feel like yourself again.
- Youth transitioning to adult services currently don't have any type of "one stop shop" methods to refer to, we're trying to create one. It's essential to know that there is support and where to find it. Accessibility to this information is important for changing the narrative for youth and bringing awareness to mental health and addictions.
- I'm hoping by creating an easily accessible plan of the transition from youth to adult services will help youth who turn 18 to continue to have the supports they need to maintain a healthy mental state. Also, to be able to feel comfortable reaching out for support when approaching a crisis or experiencing a crisis.
- I have the life long goal of becoming a human rights lawyer working for the UN to stop human trafficking and to uphold the true meaning of humanity in crisis.
- I hope that having something formal to refer to and follow will give health professionals a tool to better support young people who are transitioning into adult services, and prevent youth from feeling like they are being thrown to the wolves. I also hope this protocol can prevent many youth from following through the cracks and save them from feeling like they're on their own.
- I recently graduated from university with a degree in psychology and am thrilled to be working for two youth mental health organizations, one that is more "behind the scenes," (mindyourmind) and one that is front line!
About Design Labs
This section is all about the work we do with youth in Design Labs. From community groups to International Youth Day celebrations check them out.