Youth Innovation Project

Reads 14 youths, 12 counties, 1 mission and includes photos of youths smiling

The Commission is dedicated to exploring the mental health needs of young people in California including engagement and leadership development efforts, and support for stakeholder advocacy on behalf of transition age youth. The Youth Innovation Project is designed to support the inclusion of youth in the design of youth-oriented mental health innovations.

Projected Timeline

  • March 23 - First YIP Meeting
  • April 26 - YLI Workshop 1
  • May 10 - YLI Workshop 2
  • May 15 - CHMACY Conference 2019, Pre-Workshop Session led by 2 committee members
  • May 24 - YLI Workshop 3; We Rise Teen Hall Breakout Session facilitated by committee members
  • June 21 - YLI Workshop 4
  • July TBD - YLI Workshop 5
  • July 31 - YLI Workshop 6
  • August - Innovation Idea Lab 2019 planning and prep
  • TBD - Innovation Summit


California’s Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) is intended to support transformational change to the state’s community mental health system. The MHSA provides California counties approximately $100 million annually to fund innovations intended to support experimental and adaptive approaches to improving access to care, the quality of services and outcomes. Innovation funds can be used to develop new programs, support research, adapt existing practices to address the needs of new communities and generally address the needs of unserved or underserved populations with mental health needs. The MHSOAC must approve county innovation proposals before counties may spend their innovation funds.

Youth Innovation Project Opportunity

The innovation component provides an opportunity to infuse youth voice and vision into each county’s community program planning and project development processes. The Youth Innovation Project Planning Committee is introduced to support this opportunity by providing guidance to the Youth Innovation Project.

The Youth Innovation Project Planning Committee will be asked to provide support for the project, which includes the following three goals:  (1) identify mental health challenges facing youth, (2) identify potential solutions to those challenges, and (3) support the presentation of solutions to county leaders for innovation investment.

In order to identify potential solutions, Committee Members will be asked to help plan and facilitate a youth-led innovation project design lab in Summer 2019.

Stay tuned for more details about the youth-led innovation project design lab!

Please email Shannon Tarter if you would like to be added to the communication list for this project.

Read more information about the Innovation component of the MHSA

Project Goal

The project includes the following three goals: 

  • Identify mental health challenges facing youth
  • Identify potential solutions to those challenges
  • Support the presentation of solutions to county leaders for innovation investment


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