This project helps build the skills and capacity of school-based health staff—as well as staff of other youth-serving organizations—to provide high-quality, evidence-based sexual, reproductive, and mental health care to adolescents in New York City.
Adolescence is a time of significant brain development. It is also a time when youth are engaging in both health-promoting and health-impeding behaviors, as well as taking risks that impact their physical and mental health.
It is critical that adolescents receive the support and guidance they need to make sound decisions during these formative years. It is also important that they have access to services that address mental health issues that can lead to social isolation, poor school performance, and high-risk behavior in the short term—and limit their options and success in the future.
School-based health centers play a significant role in giving adolescents a space to access support, counseling, information, and resources—especially on topics of mental health and sexual and reproductive health.
Through the Office of School Health Portfolio Project, CAI is delivering trainings that build the capacity of staff in public high school and middle school-based health centers—including in mental health programs—to provide affirming sexual and reproductive health and mental health education services to adolescent students. The initiative is designed to expand adolescents’ access to comprehensive and high-quality health services and, ultimately, improve their sexual and reproductive health outcomes.
This initiative also trains staff in foster care agencies, teen parenting programs, and the Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health (CATCH) Program.
Data demonstrate that prevention and early intervention around mental health issues can help build adolescents’ resilience and lead to positive long-term outcomes, such as increased rates of high school graduation and community involvement. Studies also show that access to sexual and reproductive health services increases the likelihood that young people use contraception when they are sexually active.
By building the capacity of both clinical and mental health staff within the school environment to provide young people with skilled support, counseling, education, and access to reproductive health services, this project strives to improve overall health outcomes and student success for adolescents attending New York City public schools.
Project funder and key partners
- Funder: NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
- Key Partner: NYC Department of Education
Leadership and contact
Elisabeth Salner, Project Director: email@example.com