Youth and Young Adult Mental Health Group
Who We Are
The Youth and Young Adult Mental Health Group (YYAMH-G) is a group of invested partners dedicated to understanding the transition to adulthood among socially and economically marginalized populations of youth and young adults, and learning how to make the transition more successful for more young people. More specifically, we draw on the expertise of individuals from across the United States and beyond to develop the following: 1) knowledge, 2) practice approaches, and 3) implementation strategies. We utilize mixed-method research and community-based participatory research methods. Our collaborative work is guided by noted scholars and consultants in the central area(s) of our research, namely child and adolescent mental health, child welfare, prevention, early intervention and prevention of psychosis, treatment engagement programs and strategies, multi-component treatment intervention(s), social isolation and connection, and advocacy and social justice.
To improve the lives of marginalized populations of youth and young adults with mental health challenges, and improve the lives of those around them.
We are dedicated to achieving four goals:
- Decrease unmet mental health need among youth and young adults
- Improve outcomes for youth and young adults with mental health challenges
- Decrease mental health stigma
- Develop intervention tools to assess for and intervene with youth based on mental health narratives
We work to achieve these goals by executing the following objectives:
- Research:Conduct systematic and rigorous mixed-methods research
- Dissemination: Develop, disseminate, and study the implementation of efficacious interventions
- Advocacy: Support communities (i.e., professionals, families, and young adults) in managing the transition to living well with a mental illness
Current Group Members
firstname.lastname@example.org | (212) 992-9731
Dr. Munson is a Professor at NYU Silver. She has professional interests in mental health services research and intervention development and testing, and her work centers on adolescents and young adults. Dr. Munson’s research seeks to understand how society’s structural conditions and social relationships, through both verbal and non-verbal communication, shape young adults’ decisions to seek (or not seek) professional mental health services. Her research and scholarship also seeks to develop, refine, adapt, and test engagement and treatment interventions for adolescents and young adults with serious mental health conditions.
email@example.com | (212) 998-5906
Dr. James Jaccard is a professor of social work with a long history of collaborating with social work and public health to help resolve significant behavioral health challenges among youth and young adults within complex organizations and low-resourced communities. He is an expert in attitude change, decision-making and communication strategies, among others.
Kiara Moore, PhD, LCSW is an Assistant Professor at New York University Silver School of Social Work. . Dr. Moore's areas of specialization are mental health services and marginalized youth during the transition to adulthood. Dr. Moore's work examines major barriers to treatment, such as access, stigma, and health decision-making among youth of color, youth from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and LGBTQ youth. Her research aims to develop an in-depth understanding of the complicated processes by which young people's identities shape their participation in mental health care and to apply those insights to improving service use through a culturally-responsive intervention.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 212-992-6658
Andrea Cole, PhD, LCSW is an Assistant Professor at the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Fairleigh Dickinson University. Andrea completed her PhD at NYU Silver School of Social Work in 2017. Her research interests include youth and young adult trauma, exposure to community violence, intervention research, and implementation science.
Melissa Bessaha is an Assistant Professor of social work at the SUNY Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare. Her research centers on mental health and wellbeing during the transition to adulthood. Her research aims to inform culturally responsive interventions and policies that promote mental health and higher education equity among underserved and immigrant youth and young adults.
email@example.com | 212-998-4783
Luis Ramirez is a PhD student at NYU Silver School of Social Work. He joined Dr. Munson's Staying Healthy Feeling Good project in 2015 as a research assistant. His areas of interest include LGBTQ issues, sex work, and the mental health consequences of stigma and oppression.
Aaron Rodwin is a PhD student at NYU Silver School of Social Work. Aaron’s research interests focus on mental health services and interventions, serious mental health conditions, risk and resilience, positive youth development, and social determinants of health. Aaron has a particular interest in the use of innovative intervention strategies that harness music, creative arts, and technology in a therapeutic capacity as a culturally responsive vehicle to foster engagement, empowerment, and well-being in clinical practice.
Moiyattu Banya is a PhD student at NYU Silver School of Social Work. She has 15 years of clinical experience working with women and girls across Africa and the U.S. She Co-Founded the nonprofit organization Girls Empowerment Sierra Leone. Moiyattu's research interests focus on global mental health and interventions, mental health outcomes, youth empowerment, life course perspectives and social determinants of health. Moiyattu has particular interest in communities that have histories of trauma and gender based violence, and in implementing girl centered and culturally relevant interventions that foster and nurture mental health and wellbeing.
Former Group Members
Kristin Pleines, LCSW, DSW has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and adults impacted by trauma, particularly domestic violence. She completed her DSW at NYU Silver School of Social Work in 2019. Kristin is interested in enhancing mental health services for high-need populations. She is especially interested in trauma-informed care as well as trauma-informed supervision of clinicians and staff.
Melissa Villodas, LMSW is currently a PhD student at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Melissa is an alumna of NYU’s Silver School of Social Work and a former YYAMH-G member. She has clinical experience working with individuals with mood disorders in foster care and integrated health care settings. Her research interests include youth and young adult identity formation and its effect on mental health wellness during the transition to adulthood. Additionally, she is interested in policy improvement for marginalized youth and young adults in urban communities of color.
Please see Shelly's profile at: https://socialwork.ok.ubc.ca/person/shelly-ben-david/.
Rei Shimizu is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has a clinical background in trauma-focused therapy for survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in the United States and Japan. Her research interest is in health behaviors, specifically focusing on decision making related to food preferences and eating behavior and its intersections with trauma for low-income women.
We have a wide variety of projects underway at the YYAMH-G. Please feel free to click on the links below to read more about any of these projects, and/or contact us regarding any of this work.
- Young Adult Engagement Project, aka 'Just Do You'
- Bridging the Gap, 5-Year Project w/National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- Progressive Early Psychosis Support and Intervention (PEPSI)
- Cornerstone, aka 'Providing Consistency in the Midst of Change'
- Mental Health Decision-Making in Low-Resourced Communities, aka 'Staying Healthy/Feeling Good'
- Making the Transition to Adulthood Mixed Methods Research Project, aka 'got moods
- New Study in Journal of Adolescent Health: Study Provides a Fresh Look at Mental Health Preparedness and Service Use among Older Adolescents in Foster Care
- Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal Special Issue
- Dr. Kiara Moore Awarded NIMH Diversity Research Supplement
- International Meetings on Youth Mental Health
- Dr. Michelle R. Munson Appointed Jewish Board's Saul Z. Cohen Chair
- NYU Professor Michelle Munson to Test Meta-Intervention
- Cornerstone program for transition-age youth with serious mental illness
Munson, M.R., Raghavan, R., Shimizu, R., Rodwin, A.H. & Jaccard, J. (accepted for publication, in press). Methods to Advance a “Science of How”: Identifying and Engaging Intervention Targets and Outcomes. Psychiatric Services.
Hiller-Venegas, S., Gilmer, T., Jones, N. Munson, M.R., & Ojeda, V. (accepted for publication, in press). Clients’ Perspectives Regarding Peer Support Providers’ Roles and Support for Client Access to and Use of Publicly Funded Mental Health Programs Serving Transition-Age Youth in Two Southern California Counties. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research.
- Jones, N., Gius, B., Shields, M., Florence, A., Collings, S., Green, K., Watson, A. & Munson, M.R. (in press). Youth and young adult accounts of interactions with police officers in the context of involuntary psychiatric hold initiation. Psychiatric Services. E-pub available ahead of print.
- Jones, N., Gius, B, Shields, M, Cutler, E, Rosen, C. & Munson, M. (2021). Investigating the Impact of Involuntary Psychiatric Hospitalization on Youth & Young Adult Trust & Help-Seeking Pathways to Care. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 56, 2017-2027.
- Narendorf, S.C., Glaude, M. & Munson, M.R., Minott, K. & Young B. (accepted for publication, in press). Adaptation of a Mental Health Treatment Engagement Intervention for Older Foster Youth. Child and Adolescent Social Work.
Munson, M.R., Katz, C.C., Okpych, N. & Courtney, M.E. (accepted for publication, in press). Mental Health Management among Older Youth in Foster Care: Service Utilization and Preparedness. Journal of Adolescent Health.
Moore, K., Camacho, D., Lopez, L. & Munson, M.R. (2020). A Qualitative Investigation of Engagement in Mental Health Services Among Black and Hispanic LGB Young Adults. Psychiatric Services, e-publication online first, 1/21/2020.
Moore, K., Camacho, D. & Munson, M.R. (2020). Identity Negotiation Processes Among Black and Latinx Sexual Minority Young Adult Service Users. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 32(1), 21-48.
Raghavan, R., Munson, M.R., & Le, C. (2019). Toward an Experimental Therapeutics Approach in Human Services Research. Psychiatric Services, 70(12), 1130-1137.
Munson, M.R., Narendorf, S.C., Ben-David, S., & Cole, A. (2019). A Mixed Methods Investigation into the Perspectives on Mental Health and Professional Treatment among Former System Youth with Mood Disorders. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 89(1), 52-64.
Ben-David, S., Cole, A., Brucato, G., Girgus, R. & Munson, M.R. (2019). Mental health service use decision-making among young adults at clinical high-risk for developing psychosis. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 13(5), 1050-1055.
Cole, A.R., Ramirez, L., Villodas, M., Ben-David, S. & Munson, M.R. (2019). “I want to rise above it all”: Perceptions of the neighborhood among young adults living in public housing. Children and Youth Services Review, 103, 63-69.
Munson, M.R., Narendorf, S.C., Ben-David, S., Cole, A., & Floersch, J. (2018). Integrated, Overwhelmed, and Distanced: Narratives of Mental Health among Young Adults. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 9(3), 413-430.
Narendorf, S.C., Munson, M.R., Ben-David, S., Cole, A., & Scott, L.D., Jr. (2018). Race and Gender Differences in Attitudes Toward Help Seeking among Marginalized Young Adults with Mood Disorders: A Mixed Methods Investigation. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 41(4), 277-289.
Munson, M.R. & Jaccard, J. (2018). Mental Health Service Use: A Communication Framework for Program Development. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 45(1), 62-80.
Cole, A.R., Jenefsky, N., Ben-David, S.B., & Munson, M.R. (2018). Feeling Connected and Understood: The Role of Creative Arts in Engaging Young Adults in their Mental Health Services. Social Work with Groups, 41(1-2), 6-20.
Ben-David, S.B., Cole, A.R., Spencer, R., Jaccard, J., & Munson, M.R. (2017). Social Context in Mental Health Service Use among Young Adults. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(1), 85-99.
Munson, M.R., Cole, A. Jaccard, J., Kranke, D., Farkas, K., & Frese, F. (2016). Just Do You: An Engagement Intervention for Young Adults Utilizing Recovery Role Models. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 43(4), 542-563.
Munson, M.R., Brown, S., Spencer, R., Tracy, E., & Edguer, M. (2015). Supportive Relationships During the Transition to Adulthood among Former System Youth. Journal of Adolescent Research, 30(4), 501-529.
Munson, M. R., Lee, B. R., Miller, D., Cole, A., & Nedelcu, C. (2013). Emerging Adulthood among Former System Youth: The Ideal Versus the Real. Children and Youth Services Review, 35, 923-929.
Munson, M. R., Jaccard, J., Smalling, S. E., Kim, H., Werner, J. J., & Scott, L. D., Jr. (2012). Static, Dynamic, Integrated and Contextualized: A Framework for Understanding Mental Health Service Use among Young Adults. Social Science and Medicine, 75(8), 1441-1449