Tunnels and Cliffs: A Guide for Workforce Development Professionals and Policymakers serving Youth with Mental Health Needs

Tunnels and Cliffs: A Guide for Workforce Development Professionals and Policymakers serving Youth with Mental Health Needs

Introduction

Tunnels and Cliffs: A Guide for Workforce Development Professionals and Policymakers serving Youth with Mental Health Needs was developed as part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy’s (ODEP’s) work to help workforce development professionals, administrators, and policymakers increase their understanding of youth with mental health needs and the supports necessary to help them transition into the workforce successfully.

Youth with mental health needs (MHN) often face unemployment, underemployment, and discrimination when they enter the workforce. Employment data show that individuals with serious mental illness have the lowest level of employment of any group of people with disabilities. As a result, large numbers of youth with both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health needs who are transitioning into young adulthood, to the world of work, and to postsecondary education are likely to experience significant difficulties.

This guide provides practical information and resources for youth service professionals. In addition, it provides policymakers, from the program to the state level, with information to help them address system and policy obstacles in order to improve service delivery systems for youth with mental health needs.

The guide’s framework is the Guideposts for Success. The Guideposts are research based and describe components that all youth need to transition successfully to adulthood as well as modifications for youth with disabilities. The Guideposts for Success for Youth with Mental Health Needs include all the elements of the original Guideposts as well as additional specific needs relating to youth with mental health needs.

View the Guideposts for Success for Youth with Mental Health Needs (Chapter 3 of Tunnels & Cliffs)

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Download Sections

Cover, Table of Contents, Acknowledgements, Purpose
View cover, table of contents, etc. in PDF (8 pages, 120 KB)
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Chapter 1 describes the mental health landscape encountered by youth, including facts, statistics, and the conflicting and confusing terminology used to describe mental health needs and conditions.
View Chapter 1 in PDF (8 pages, 80 KB)
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Chapter 2 describes the transition cliff that separates youth and adult service systems and the service tunnels that youth with mental health needs (MHN) must negotiate to access the assistance and support needed to maximize independence.
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Chapter 3 introduces the Guideposts for Success for Youth with MHN and discusses issues of concern to youth service professionals serving youth with MHN.
View Chapter 3 in PDF (42 pages, 252 KB)
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Chapter 4 discusses policy issues related to serving youth with MHN and suggests actions for program administrators and state and local policymakers.
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Appendix A contains a list of web-based resources.
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Appendix B contains the references.
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Appendix C contains a list of acronyms.
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Order the Guide

NCWD/Youth publications can be downloaded for free from this website. Multiple copies can be purchased by contacting the Collaborative at contact@ncwd-youth.info.

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