Mental Health & Well-Being

Why it matters

Supporting Youth Mental Health

During adolescence, young people are at the peak of their physical health, emotional growth, and creativity. This is also the phase of development where many mental health issues arise. Both medical and behavioral health providers can play a crucial role in ensuring adolescents’ mental health needs are met so they can thrive.


There are eleven sections in the ACE-AP: BH covering these domains:

  • Access to Care
  • Adolescent Appropriate Environment
  • Confidentiality
  • Best Practices and Standards of Care
  • Respectful Treatment
  • Parent & Caregiver Engagement
  • Community Engagement
  • Trauma-Informed Care
  • Integrated/Coordinated Care
  • Cultural Responsiveness
  • Adolescent Involvement and Empowerment

Adolescent-Centered Environment Assessment Process for Behavioral Health (ACE-AP: BH)

For years, the Adolescent Health Initiative (AHI) has been eager to bring the principles of the Adolescent-Centered Environment Assessment Process (ACE-AP) for primary care to a behavioral health setting. With support from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, we adapted our original intervention to be implemented in behavioral health centers.

The ACE-AP for Behavioral Health (ACE-AP: BH) is a facilitated, comprehensive self-assessment and guided improvement process that includes customized resources, recommendations, technical assistance, and implementation plans using Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) improvement cycles. The ACE-AP: BH process aims to remove barriers to change and streamlines implementation to improve care delivery to adolescents, specifically in behavioral health.

The ACE-AP for Behavioral Health is currently in its pilot phase of implementation. If you are interested in bringing the ACE-AP for Behavioral Health to your health center or would like to collaborate on this project, please contact Lauren Leslie at leleslie@med.umich.edu.

Mental Health Resources

Resources and organizations to help support adolescents’ mental and emotional health

Youth-Friendly Improvements for Behavioral Health Settings

A curated list of materials, education tools, and resources

Mental Health Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Youth

Dr. Jeffrey P. Winer, an Attending Psychologist within the Trauma and Community Resilience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and an Instructor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School lead this plenary address at the 2021 Conference on Adolescent Health.

Timely Topics Training

AHI’s Timely Topics Trainings are self-paced web modules that blend vignettes from youth and subject matter experts with salient research and practice-based activities responsive to emerging needs in adolescent care


Trauma-Informed Care with Adolescent Patients

For adolescents who have experienced trauma, visiting a health center can be uncomfortable and even re-traumatizing, and providers have the potential to create health care experiences that are comforting and reassuring. This Timely Topics module provides a brief outline of the impacts of trauma on adolescents and shares strategies for practicing trauma-responsive care in a primary care setting.

Launch Presentation

Spark Trainings

Sparks are designed for providers or staff to deliver in 15-30 minutes at staff meetings or professional development opportunities. These trainings will “spark” discussion and reflection among your multidisciplinary team. All sparks include a PowerPoint presentation, a facilitator outline, and follow-up materials.

Being Youth Friendly - For Behavioral Health Providers
Being Youth Friendly - For Behavioral Health Providers

Identify with your team key staff and provider behaviors that are essential to providing youth-friendly care.

Cultural Responsiveness
Cultural Responsiveness

Identify and discuss key concepts about providing culturally responsive health care to young people and reflect on various cultural norms unique to adolescence.

Being an Askable Adult
Being an Askable Adult

Discuss strategies adults can use to help youth feel comfortable asking for support and refer them to services like health care or mental health.

 Starter Guides

AHI Starter Guides are mini-toolkits that offer concrete, actionable steps to improve adolescent care.

Adolescent Mental Health in Primary Care
Adolescent Mental Health in Primary Care

Youth-Friendly Materials

Youth empowerment can be impacted through programming, visual cues, and one-on-one conversations with patients. AHI offers resources on all three!


Poster to encourage young people to discuss their mental health with their provider. Contact us to request a free printed copy.


Poster to encourage young people to discuss their mental health with their provider in Spanish. Contact us to request a free printed copy.

We Can Help!

Is your practice interested in learning more about the ACE-AP for Behavioral Health? We help health centers across the country become more adolescent-centered.