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Youth helping to design pilot model for mental health and wellness

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This story is part of Lifelines, a Rocky Mountain PBS project focused on youth suicide prevention. This is one segment in a series of stories focused on how communities have responded after experiencing high rates of youth suicide. Find the full Learning Through Loss story here.

PREVIOUS SEGMENT:Colorado schools learn from comprehensive suicide prevention model developed in California

If you have an immediate mental health crisis, please call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat with the Lifeline.

Insight with John Ferrugia

Youth help to design new model for health and wellness care


California youth are helping develop what they hope is a national model for wellness care.

Mental health professionals in Palo Alto, California are trying to develop pathways for young people to seek help with their mental health before their problems escalate to a crisis.

The Stanford University School of Medicine is helping to pilot what it hopes will be a new national model for youth mental health and wellness called allcove.

"When we look at where young people are mostly coming into our systems right now, it's generally after a crisis, whether it's a suicide attempt or a drug overdose or something really much more severe. Because we don't have these places and opportunities for the early care," said Dr. Steven Adelsheim, the director at Stanford Psychiatry’s Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The hope is allcove would provide those early care opportunities for youth.

Palo Alto is one of seven planned locations across California where allcove walk-in centers are set to be located. The plan is for the centers to offer integrated care including medical and mental health care, substance abuse counseling and career counseling, based on a model from Australia called headspace.

The team at the Stanford Psychiatry’s Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing has gathered a youth advisory group to help design the centers. The youth group has had input on everything from interviewing potential staff to choosing facility sites to the planned hours.

“It's not something that we're creating for them. It's something we're creating with them and alongside them,” said Vicki Harrison, the program director for allcove.

“I ended up hospitalized at the end of eighth grade for suicidal ideation and I met people who had attempted,” said Shravanti Shankar, who has served as one of allcove’s youth advisors.

“I realized.. we all wait until it’s too late to get help … even if it’s as simple as, I have a test in a couple of weeks and I’m really stressed out, can I go talk to somebody to help me figure it out? I think that’s what allcove is,” Shankar said.

“I want [allcove] to be all over the country. I want there to be hundreds,” said youth advisor Phebe Cox.

NEXT SEGMENT: Behavioral health care is on site at Colorado Springs school-based clinic