We speak with Dr. Marsha Ellison and Evelyn Frankford about assisting students with serious mental health challenges make transitions from high school. These students often don’t receive the supports they want and need, especially finding work or navigating college disability accommodations. Long-term relationships with a knowledgeable adult and positive youth development strategies can make a difference—but require commitments of time and money.  


00:00-00:52 Intros

00:52-02:45 Numbers of students with serious mental health conditions

02:45-06:47 Schools’ capacity to recognize and serve students with serious mental health conditions

06:47-09:47 Responding to students’ needs and motivations—a positive youth development model

09:47-14:54 Strategies; intensity of relationship building; problems with the Medicaid model

14:54-15:40 Looking at the whole context of where the youth is coming from

15:40-18:23 Transitions from high school—counselors’ limitations; supporting and improving counselors’ capacity

18:23-27:02 Special ed reforms to support successful transitions

27:02-29:55 Moving from punitive to supportive approaches to behavioral issues

29:55-32:22 Participatory action research

32:22-35:08 Ethical issues in psychiatry’s (and social work’s) history and practice


Click here to see the full transcript of this episode. 

Soundtrack by Poddington Bear