The federal government has given Outside In $2.5 million to step up its mental health services for homeless youth.
“Many of these young adults have experienced a series of compounding traumas throughout their lives, which have caused wounds that are difficult to heal without effective treatment,” Amanda Antenucci, Outside In's clinical services manager, said in a statement. “When people are experiencing homelessness and mental health challenges, it is common for them to turn to substance use and other behaviors as a means for managing symptoms.”
The nonprofit social service agency now treats about 50 youth but it's had to turn clients away because they didn't meet the criteria for its current mental health program. This money will allow it to expand, helping about 160 people between 18 and 25 years old. They will receive in-house dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance commitment therapy, which combine individualized psychotherapy, group skills classes and mindfulness techniques.
“Outside In’s treatment program should serve as a model for our country,” said Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. “The program is designed to address the unique challenges facing our young people experiencing homelessness.”
Multnomah County officials estimate that each year over 1,000 homeless young adults could benefit from mental health and substance use treatment, and at least 35 percent of them identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning - LGBTQ.
The grant was funded by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.
Portland State University will help Outside In evaluate the effectiveness of the program.