Project UNITE



Project UNITE aims to address the needs of transition-age youth (TAY) by focusing on prevention, early intervention,  and provision of mental health supports for young adults with co-occurring mental health disorders and their family members.


    • Implement mental health screenings and continue the work of the TAY Collaborative
    • Develop and implement Wellness/Drop-In Center and Parent Mentor Program

Mental Health Screening

Adolescents and young adults, ages 14-26 receiving services from Westside Regional Center, are invited to participate in free mental screenings, one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether someone experiences symptoms of mental health conditions. The screening includes: a one-hour interview with an Associate Clinical Social Worker for the client, a survey completed by the parent during the client interview, and a written summary of the findings and communication with the client and their family in regards to any recommended referrals to supports and/or services.

Screening tools used include:
BECK Youth Inventories for children and adolescents 2nd Edition (BYI-II)
Vineland –II Maladaptive Behavior Subscale
Adapted version of the National Core Indicators (NCI). Adult Consumer Survey. Full description of the NCI
Adult Consumer Survey National Core Indicators

TAY Collaborative

The work of the TAY Collaborative focuses on assistance in planning and assessment of the mental health needs of youth and young adults and their family members. When youth’s needs are multifaceted and they span over multiple systems of care, it is essential that Service Coordinators meet with the TAY Collaborative team to take advantage of specialized expertise. This is a perfect opportunity to bring specialists from varying systems (education, mental health, probation, regional center, medical) together to sort out complexities of care resulting from challenging conditions. To refer to the TAY Collaborative for consultation and solution building, please fill out the TAY Collaborative Referral Form.

Wellness/Drop-In Center

SIDEKIX was a program for young adults with developmental disabilities that offered drop-in support services on Saturdays in Los Angeles area. Through group trainings, workshops and activities, SIDEKIX allowed participants to learn about wellness and how to incorporate it into life routines. By connecting our participants to local organizations and resources that offer additional group and individual supports, young adults may have the opportunity to expand their social circles, connect to their communities and have more balanced lives proven to promote overall physical and mental health and wellness. Please check out SIDEKIX Program Model and SIDEKIX Program Guide.

Program staff transitioned SIDEKIX into a FULL CIRCLE WELLNESS program, a drop-in center located in Culver City offering drop-in support services on Sundays. The goal stayed the same: to learn about physical and mental health wellness and how to incorporate it into daily routines. Full Circle Wellness assists young adults in expanding their social circles, connecting to their communities, and having fun!

Program staff also created a guide of how to start a California nonprofit. It is intended to help staff and volunteers learn more about charitable entities as they explore financial sustainability of their programs. Please check out “Everything You Wanted to Know about Starting a California Nonprofit but Were Afraid to Ask“.

Parent Mentor Program

This training and support program was developed for family caregivers who want to support parents caring for youth and young adults with developmental disabilities and mental health conditions. Parent Mentors are parents of children with developmental disabilities with, or at risk for, co-occurring mental health conditions. Parent Mentors go through a 3-day training to learn how to help others in identifying their concerns and priorities, assist in matching families with appropriate supports and resources, offer support to other families, and increase their own knowledge and skills about systems of care for individuals with dual diagnosis.

This program includes:

1. Training to become a Parent Mentor
Parent Mentor Training Flyer (cohort 1)
Parent Mentor Training Curriculum (cohort 1)
Parent Mentor Training Flyer (cohort 2)
Parent Mentor Training Curriculum (cohort 2)

2. Working with other families
Parent Mentor Program Flyer
Parent Mentor Handbook
Phone Log Information and Referral Decision

3. Monthly supervision and continuing education workshops
“Redefining Trauma” Workshop Flyer
“Redefining Trauma: A Journey of Hope” Workshop
“Communication Pitfalls and the RULES of Guiding” Workshop

Project Summary

To encourage statewide replication of this project, we created a PROJECT BLUEPRINT. This blueprint outlines a step-by-step action plan for each component of the project. It is meant to be a guide that includes an overview of the project, its goals, implementation, and evaluation.