July 10, 2019

The School’s Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, in partnership with the Yakama Nation, was awarded a five-year $1,654,728 federal grant for the Healthy Transitions project, designed to improve access to treatment and support services for Native American youth and young adults who are experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges.

Cynthia Pearson, a research professor at the School of Social Work and IWRI’s director of research, will serve as one of the principal investigators. The project is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Healthy Transitions aims to improve life trajectories for Native American youth between the ages of 14 and 25, maximizing their potential to assume adult roles and responsibilities and to lead full and productive lives.  

Throughout the duration of the grant, the team will work to increase awareness of mental health issues, improve access to screening and detection, make more referrals to trauma-informed treatment, and provide better coordination of care. Team members will adapt and implement the Transition to Independence Process (TIP), an evidence-informed treatment model; part of the grant award will be used to train and certify three community TIP trainers. 

The funds will also enable a more integrated cross-system collaboration of services for Native youth by developing and expanding partnerships with state and tribal organizations. The grant will support the hiring of nine staff members by Yakama National Behaviorial Health; training for at least 30 project staff and managers from both state and tribal agencies; and increased screening, assessment, treatment and services to reach some 400 youth. 

A community-wide public awareness campaign will help spread the word about programs and services.