AMP+: Developing the Young Adult Peer Support Workforce

Peer support for older adolescents and young adults with serious mental health conditions (SMHCs) is increasingly seen as a crucial part of the mental health service array. However, peer support roles have not been clearly defined, which has not only made research challenging but also created confusion for peer support providers, their supervisors, and other mental health professionals.

AMP+ is a field test of a workforce intervention that is focused on 1) training and coaching peer support providers who work with emerging adults with SMHCs, and 2) working with supervisors and administrators in agencies that employ peer support providers to ensure that the agencies are prepared to supervise and support them. This study will use an adapted form of an existing intervention called Achieve My Plan (AMP). AMP has been developed and tested at Pathways RTC over the past 8 years, and preliminary findings from studies underway show evidence of its efficacy in improving self-determination, treatment satisfaction and community participation outcomes among emerging adults with SMHCs.

Publications and Products

Using "Remote" Training and Coaching to Increase Providers' Skills for Working Effectively with Older Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions

This paper describes a remote training intervention for practitioners working with young people aged 16-25 who experience serious mental health conditions. This approach is designed to train providers to work with young people in ways that increase their engagement and retention in services, as well as their alliance with treatment providers. Enhancing providers' skills in these areas is urgently needed, given that young people in this age range have the highest rates of serious mental health conditions, and yet they are also the least likely to engage in or complete mental health treatment.

Supporting the Youth Peer Support Role Within Your Organization [Video]

Pacific Northwest (Region10) Mental Health Technology Transfer Center in partnership with Pathways RTC bring you "Supporting the Youth Peer Support Role Within Your Organization." Youth peer support is an emerging and innovative role within mental health that is seen as valuable for young adults who are system involved. While many agencies want to employ or do employ youth peer support specialists, there are many questions and challenges regarding how to best support this role. In this webinar we clarify the responsibilities and boundaries of the youth peer support role and offer tips on how to support this role and these employees within your agency.

Peer Support for Youth and Young Adults who Experience Serious Mental Health Conditions: State of the Science

Peer support for youth and young adults who experience serious mental health conditions (SMHCs) is rapidly growing in popularity as an addition to the mental health service array in communities around the United States. This brief reviews the research literature that bears on the topic surrounding peer support, describes how current work at Pathways RTC is helping to build new knowledge about peer support, and outlines implications for a research agenda going forward.

Using a "Remote," Web-Based Training and Coaching Approach to Increase Providers' Skills for Working with Youth and Young Adults: Findings from the Achieve My Plan Training Study

This summary describes Achieve My Plan (AMP), an enhancement for existing interventions and programs that is designed to strengthen providers' skills in key areas that are typically needed for working successfully with youth and young adults. Specifically, AMP focuses on increasing providers' capacity for working with young people in ways that promote their acquisition of self-determination skills, ensure that care/treatment is based on their perspectives and priorities, and highlight and build on strengths in meaningful ways.

What Is Peer Support and What Is Not Peer Support?

This publication provides some clarity around the primary functions of the young adult peer support role, and addresses the common misconceptions of young adult peer work.

Increasing Youths' Participation in Team-Based Treatment Planning: The Achieve My Plan Enhancement for Wraparound

This article in the Journal of Child and Family Studies describes a randomized study testing the Achieve My Plan (AMP) enhancement for Wraparound, which is intended to increase young people's satisfaction, active engagement and self-determined participation in Wraparound.

AMP's Top Ten Tips for Engaging with Young People

This tip sheet advises service providers and others how to engage successfully with youth, using specific examples to illustrate effective (and ineffective) communication.

Youth & Young Adult Peer Support: What Research Tells Us About its Effectiveness in Mental Health Services

Increasing the availability of peer support for youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions has been advocated by service users, researchers, and government commissions. Efforts to provide peer support for young people are becoming more and more common. This FAQ describes the research evidence for peer support, as well as some of the challenges that can be expected when peer support is implemented.

AMP+ Self-Efficacy Measure

Based off of Albert Bandura's widely-used guide for constructing self-efficacy, the AMP+ team created the AMP+ self-efficacy measure to assess young adult peer support providers' confidence in performing key functions of the peer support role. It’s important that young adult peer support providers feel confident doing the functions of their job (i.e., explaining their role, helping a youth develop a plan, helping a youth connect to their social network or larger community, etc.). This tool is helpful in gauging peers’ level of confidence and skill acquisition over time to see what areas of support they might need in relation to training and supervision. We used this measure in AMP+ research and it demonstrated good internal reliability for the sub scales and the assessment as a whole, with Cronbach's alpha for each greater than .80.

Think Aloud Tool

Implementation science has converged on the view that achieving conceptual clarity regarding intervention program principles and values are key for effective staff training, coaching, supervision and evaluation. The Think Aloud Tool is helpful in assessing providers' ability to identify principle-driven practice and key elements of program theory when applied in a naturalistic setting, which can illuminate providers’ level of conceptual clarity and understanding of program theory and intervention framework. This assessment is in the form of an interview with a service provider. The provider watches a series of consecutive one-minute segments of a video recording that shows another provider using the selected intervention with a client. After each one minute segment, the interviewer asks the provider to describe the practice he/she has observed in the segment in terms of its strengths (what the provider in the video was doing right) and "improvables" (what the provider could do better). The interview is recorded and scored using a reliable key.

AMP+ Curriculum

The AMP+ curriculum is an adapted version of the Achieve My Plan curriculum, which has been developed at Pathways over the past 8 years. The AMP+ curriculum has been designed for peer support providers who work with young people with serious mental health challenges. The curriculum modules are focused on skill development and communication strategies that young people can apply in community settings where they are working with gatekeepers and facilitators. In addition, the curriculum can easily be adapted to meet the specific needs of individual young people and/or peer support models. The AMP+ curriculum is licensed and you may obtain a license, which includes fidelity training and coaching, to access the AMP+ materials.

New Spanish Translation of YES-MH and YPP Scales

Pathways RTC now has Spanish language translations of the Youth Efficacy/Empowerment Scale-Mental Health (YES-MH) and Youth Participation in Planning (YPP) Scale. These measures were first introduced in English in 2007 by the RTC on Family Support and Children's Mental Health (now Pathways RTC). Introductions to the Spanish and English versions are available online, and administration and scoring information can be obtained at no charge with permission.


Engaging Youth and Young Adults in Wraparound: Exploring the Effectiveness of Online "Remote" Training and Coaching

Presented at the Children's Mental Health Research and Policy Conference, Tampa, FL, March 8, 2017.

Findings from a Randomized Study of a Youth Engagement Enhancement for Wraparound

Presented at the Children's Mental Health Research and Policy Conference, Tampa, FL, March 14, 2016.