How Trained Service Professionals and Self-Advocacy Makes a Difference for Youth with Mental Health, Substance Abuse, or Co-occurring Issues


Successful transition for young people with a history of mental health needs and/or substance abuse is characterized by services that are:

  • coordinated to ensure that schools, communities, agencies, child welfare, juvenile justice, and others work together;
  • personalized and tailored to the individual needs of children and youth;
  • culturally and linguistically competent to address unmet needs, such as those faced by youth of color and English language learners;
  • based on best practices and research regarding developmentally appropriate interventions and treatments; and
  • child- and family-centered, involving relevant family members and caregivers where possible.1

In order to effectively support young people with a history of mental health needs, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders, therapeutic services provided by appropriately trained professionals must be available. Coupled with personalized transition planning, these supports can be the catalyst for a successful transition to adulthood.

 National Center for Children in Poverty, 2006