The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has new given new grants toward two Dell Medical School at the University of Texas projects. One will seek to create better ways to transition teens from pediatric to adult mental health care, and the other will focus on creating a database to give physicians better information on environmental and social factors that impact their patients.
The $623,000 grant for the Center for Youth Mental Health will fund pilot projects to improve mental health care for people ages 15 to 25. Dr. Stephen Strakowski, psychiatry chair at the medical school, says this age group is a key age group because it is when many symptoms for depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder begin to show. As well, it’s an age in which people are trying to find their independence. In this age range, he says, “60 to 80 percent drop out of care.”
“We’re looking for creative ways to change how we manage 15- to 25-years-olds who struggle with mental health issues,” he says.
The problem of transitioning from pediatric care to adult care is not unique to mental health, Strakowski says. It also happens with other illnesses, too, and doctors are not trained in adolescence. They are trained in pediatric or adult care, but not this very different in-between stage.