ACMHS Selected for National Learning Collaborative to Address Youth Mental Health

“Connected” will bring together five youth-serving organizations from across the country

Anchorage, AK, December 26, 2018- Anchorage Community Mental Health Services is pleased to announce that we have been selected to be part of a national learning collaborative aimed at reducing anxiety, depression and suicide among youth ages 13-23. The collaborative, called “Connected”, is a program of the National Council on Behavioral Health. ACMHS, though its programs Alaska Youth Advocates and Alaska Seeds of Change, is one of five participating organizations, chosen from nearly 250 applicants.

Through participation in the program, ACMHS aims to develop new services to meet the needs of youth ages 13-23, and new methods of connecting to those services. Alaska Youth Advocates has a long history of engaging some of Anchorage’s most vulnerable youth through a drop-in center, street outreach program and educational presentations. Alaska Seeds of Change is a vocational training program for at-risk transition age youth. The mental health needs of the shared population served by these programs is significant, but there are significant barriers to youth accessing these services, including stigma, insurance, and transportation challenges. ACMHS provides quality mental health services across the lifespan, but youth have unique needs, and programs designed for children and adults don’t always meet these needs. ACMHS hopes to develop programs and services to overcome these barriers.
The National Council describes the initiative goals as “to increase access and engagement in quality, appropriate care for culturally diverse, rural, LGBTQ+ and other youth populations that experience barriers to mental health supports.” Through participation in this collaborative, ACMHS will be connected with mentor organizations to share their experiences and help refine our approaches. Program evaluation through the Michigan Public Health Institute will measure the effectiveness of our efforts. As part of the program, young people from the Anchorage area have been invited to participate as “Young Influencers”, with the opportunity to attend national conferences and meetings. The ACMHS project team includes both clinical and youth staff from ACMHS, AYA and Alaska Seeds of Change.

ACMHS, Inc. has been providing behavioral health services in the Anchorage area since 1974. ACMHS serves a broad spectrum of Alaskans across the span of life, including emotionally disturbed children, homeless and at-risk transition age youth and adults with mental illness. AYA has been serving homeless and at risk youth in the Anchorage area since 1972, and became part of ACMHS in 2014. Alaska Seeds of Change began operations in December 2016.

For more information, please contact Jessica Cochran, Director of Community Relations and Communications, at 907-440-8047 (cell), 907-261-5330 (desk) or jcochran@acmhs.com.