Pioneering “Transition-Age” Mental Health

Well, this is different. Though we’ve seen all kinds of mental health support directed specifically toward teens, and other services designed to meet the mental health needs of adults, this is the first time we’ve seen programs specifically designed to bridge the underfunded gap between adolescence and adulthood.

The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health just this week handed out $10 million in grants to eight different organizations in East Texas to address the unique challenges posed by what’s essentially the start of "real life." “Transition-age,” they’re calling it. 

It can be a bumpy developmental time. Parental and school supports dwindle even as young people are taking on big challenges like serious relationships, living alone, finding and holding jobs, and managing their finances.

Adding to the complexity, some mental health disorders, like schizophrenia, tend to show up in young adulthood. It can make for a perfect storm.

Related: Who's Fixing the Mental Health Gap in Central Texas?

So who’s getting the money? Well, big players. Houston-area players. The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has been around since 1940, and at this point, it has a cast of organizations it prefers to work with. These include the Baylor College of Medicine, which is getting $1 million to boost cooperative participation in group therapy among transition age people and their families, and Star of Hope Mission, which is getting $1.4 million to provide services for current or former shelter residents of transition age.

Apparently, the receipt of these grants comes on the tail of an involved planning and collaboration process, in which the eight organizations came together to share their mutual strengths and challenges. In December 2013, the eight organizations divided $200,000, each receiving a planning grant to help them sharpen their focus on the challenges of transition-age youths. And now it’s time to put that planning and research into practice.

 We’re excited to see these eight organizations launch the next phase of the multiyear transition-age youth and families initiative,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation and vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. “They have just gone through a collaborative and highly productive planning process, generating momentum that the new grant funds will only magnify.”