Learn About YES! – Youth Empowered Solutions

Call to Action

Nationally, people between the ages of 16 and 26 experience higher rates of serious mental health conditions than any other age group.

Yet they are the age group least likely to access services or remain in services if they do access them. 

Stigma is paramount to the reluctance of young people to access services. Young people also explain their reluctance to remain in services by saying that they don’t think the services available will help them.  Many who have been in treatment previously cite their lack of progress in the past as a reason for this belief.

Few practices have been developed for, or proven to be effective with, this age group. Consequently, usually young people receive services developed for children or adults. Therefore, there is a high probability that such services are poor matches for this age group. After all, there is a reason that recovery-oriented services are expected to be both age appropriate and culturally appropriate for each participant. These circumstances are not unique to Wisconsin and is occurring all across the nation.  For a more thorough discussion related to the factors that contribute, please visit article, Healthy Transitions- The provider toolkit for emerging adults with serious mental health conditions. (Office of Children, Young Adults, & Families, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, 2015)

Wisconsin has developed a practice that is proven to be effective and appealing to this unique group.

Youth Empowered Solutions! (YES!) engages, equips, and empowers young people to become the young adults they wish to be.  It uses partnerships with young people to address their immediate life challenges, with a focus on building successful experiences.  Building on their developmental strengths and supporting the growth of new skills gives hope and inspires young people to invest in their futures.

My Success

Hear from young people how they define their future.

Each of videos presented on this website were developed and recorded by a group of young adults during the co-vid pandemic to represent their views of their strengths, their struggles and their experiences in YES!  It is unfortunate that the circumstances did not permit professional editing of the recording, but perhaps that reflects their realism.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is committed to improving the outcomes for young people across the state who experience serious mental health and substance use services.  Please join us.

This website provides access to the voices of young people discussing their perceptions of why YES! practices work, an introduction to how they work, and a resource center that provides access to critical foundations of developmental theory and cognitive skill-building.

Help young people make the decision to turn their lives around.  Make the decision to turn our mental health system around.

Help make Wisconsin be a leader in supporting young people with serious mental health and substance use conditions.  We want to make it happen—across the state.

For more information about how the Department of Health Services can support this, contact DHSDCTSchildrenSOC@DHS.WISCONSIN.GOV.