2023 Grants Challenge

TAY Wellness Center: A One-Stop-Shop for Transition-Aged Youth

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services will impact the lives of transition-aged youth (TAY) ages 15 to 25 at our new TAY Wellness Center in Glendale. This "one-stop-shop" will offer a plethora of services designed to meet the unique needs of TAY struggling with issues like poverty, mental illness, substance use, trauma, homelessness, and the transition from the foster care system, helping them to get back on their feet and onto a positive path towards adulthood.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

LA County is in the midst of an unprecedented mental health crisis. Clinical depression rates are at all-time highs, with teens and young adults experiencing the most dramatic increases. During the COVID-19 pandemic, suicide has risen sharply amongst people ages 10-24, particularly those identifying as Black, Latinx or female, and ranks as the third leading cause of death for TAY ages 16-25. Especially vulnerable are the approximate 1,400 TAY who transition out of the County's foster care system every year. The scars of trauma-poverty, abuse, neglect and other adverse childhood experiences-drive many young adults to live on the streets, drop out of school or vocational programs, or enter the criminal justice system. They often lack access to physical and mental health care, despite their tremendous need, and are resistant to accessing these services when they are available due to barriers like transportation and an inherent distrust of the system that let them down.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

This grant will support the TAY Wellness Center, an integrated model of care for youth ages 16-25. Opening in October, the Center builds upon Didi Hirsch's existing TAY programming, with an array of services targeting this population's specific needs. Here, TAY will be inspired to embark on positive journeys into adulthood by addressing mental health and substance use issues, accessing educational and vocational support, creating healthy relationships, meeting basic needs, and attaining greater independence. The TAY Wellness Center is located at our Glendale site, in a region where gaps for TAY services are prevalent. The dedicated space already has a kitchen, shower and separate entrance. In July, renovations will commence to improve the existing facility and add dedicated space for laundry, educational and artistic pursuits, and leisure activities. We expect that many clients will be transitioning from foster care, with about 1 in 3 experiencing homelessness. Most will have a serious mental illness, often with co-occurring substance use issues. Our TAY Wellness Center is unique due to its: -One-stop-shop design. -TAY Advisory Council providing feedback from the client perspective. -Seamless connection to our nationally renowned Suicide Prevention Center. -Adult services located upstairs for ongoing care after age 25. -Onsite recording studio for creating content by teens, for teens. -Mobile outreach to build trust and encourage service utilization.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Didi Hirsch's groundbreaking services have saved thousands of lives during our 80-year history. We view our TAY Wellness Center as a crucial next chapter in this legacy, through which we will help create a more effective and sustainable system of care for LA County's TAY population. Our short- and longer-term goals are to: -Complete renovations and open the Center in October 2023. -Serve 150 TAY clients in year one, eventually increasing to 300 annually once the Center is fully operational. -Improve access to medical and mental health care, inclusive of substance use counseling. -Help TAY meet their basic needs, learn life skills to help them transition into adulthood, achieve their educational and vocational goals, obtain safe and affordable housing, find outlets for artistic expression to heal their traumas, build self-efficacy, and develop positive and stable lifelong relationships.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Didi Hirsch's TAY Wellness Center is a pilot that builds upon established services whose metrics will help assess this project's impact. That said, there is limited evidence-based research on TAY service effectiveness in LA County, as we learned while interviewing other agencies during the planning phase. Data collection is focused on short-term utilization metrics mandated by government contracts, providing no way to gauge long-term outcomes. This project is a chance to enhance this research base. Our robust Research and Evaluation (R&E) team will oversee data collection and reporting. Our electronic health record will provide service utilization and demographic information. We will also record outcome measures like housing and employment/education status, physical health, substance use and mental health symptoms at intake, every six months and at discharge. Our R&E capacity will also allow us to track long-term outcomes like hospitalization, incarceration and homelessness rates.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 150

Indirect Impact: 1,000