allcove X AIM Youth Mental Health Collaboration Fund

For a Preliminary Youth-led Needs Assessment in the Salinas Valley

AIM Youth Mental Health and allcove share the common value of engaging youth to drive their own solutions to the mental health crisis that is burgeoning among underserved, under-resourced, and under-represented youth in Monterey County, California.

allcove is developing an innovative network of integrated youth mental health centers designed with, by, and for youth that reduce stigma, embrace mental wellness, increase community connection, and provide access to culturally responsive services. One of the locations under consideration for an allcove center is the Salinas Valley of Monterey County.

allcove engages a Youth Advisory Group which ensures youth voice and experience are included in the development and services of allcove centers. The Youth Advisory Group is composed of a diverse group of young people between the ages of 16-25, who are passionate about affecting change and connecting with other youth to increase access to mental health care.

AIM is currently piloting the AIM Ideas Lab, a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) program, which involves teens in Monterey County to research pressing youth mental health topics. Working in facilitated small groups, teens conduct mental health research and, with their findings, will make recommendations to policy makers, researchers, and their community about how to address the youth mental health crisis that is growing in the wake of COVID.

The shared commitment of youth representation as central to developing solutions that address youth mental health provides a synergistic opportunity that will make an exponential difference. There is an opportunity to integrate the Ideas Lab pilot with a preliminary needs assessment to investigate and discover whether an allcove center would address some of the mental health challenges faced by underserved youth in the Salinas Valley.

The AIM ideas Lab is a well-aligned vehicle to conduct a preliminary allcove needs assessment because fundamental to the Ideas Lab is peer-to-peer, youth-led surveys. It is anticipated that both sets of objectives can be achieved: the AIM Ideas Lab pilot program as well as the allcove youth-driven needs assessment regarding the possibility to establish an allcove location in the Salinas Valley.

To achieve these mutual goals, AIM Youth Mental Health will provide $10,000 in grant funding to support allcove staff with specific focus on the goal of collecting data that can be used by both allcove and the AIM Ideas Lab. allcove staff activities will take place between December 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 and include:

  1. Sharing survey instruments with AIM Ideas Lab that have been used in previous allcove youth mental health surveys
  2. Reviewing the resulting AIM Ideas Lab survey created from those instruments to ensure it is sufficient for allcove needs assessment purposes.
  3. Review PowerPoint content for virtual AIM Ideas Lab Youth Participant sessions to ensure they will generate adequate quantity and quality of data for allcove’s purposes. These sessions will cover topics such as: a program overview, review of the survey instrument, general research practices, and analysis of the research findings
  4. Participation in a one-on-one interview for a YouTube video about the value of YPAR, the goals of the collaboration, and other topics beneficial to allcove’s and AIM’s outreach and community education goals