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Funded Projects

Turn 2 Us (T2U) Mental Health Program Coordinator

Project Website

Grant Status: Active

Training Category: Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program (HTPCP)

Project Director(s):

Evelyn Berger-Jenkins, MD MPH
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
525 East 68th Street
New York, NY  10032
Phone: 212-305-6227


More than half of adult mental health conditions begin prior to fourteen years of age and affects individuals well into adulthood. Childhood mental illness disrupts the normal processes of social, emotional, and physical development for children, adversely affecting their performance in school and long-term academic attainment. Children in impoverished urban settings encounter demographic factors that increase their risk for mental health and behavioral problems, and quality treatments are often lacking in these communities.

Goals and Objectives:

As a response to these troubling statistics in underserved communities, New York-Presbyterian, in collaboration with the New York-Presbyterian Ambulatory Care Network, Columbia University Pediatrics, the Turn 2 Foundation, and local elementary schools, launched the Turn 2 Us program (T2U). Utilizing a social-ecological approach, the program promotes mental health and academic success for children in underserved communities throughout Upper Manhattan by providing mental health literacy intervention for all school personnel and parents in schools and strengthening existing policies and procedures for early identification and referral of students. With funding, the program seeks to hire a program coordinator who will assist in the expansion of parent and staff mental health literacy of T2U to additional schools throughout New York City.


In order to ensure the sustainability of the mental health literacy component of T2U, the program will shift primary focus to increasing mental health literacy of school personnel and families so they are better equipped to address the mental health needs of their students and children. This new program coordinator role will: spread the health literacy curriculum to new school sites over five years, evaluate the effect of that expansion, and pilot and strengthen the current mental health literacy components for scalability.


The T2U program has developed working relationships with part-time consultants responsible for various aspects of the program, including wellness specialists, sports coaches, and instructors. T2U also collaborates with NYP's CHALK (Choosing Healthy and Active Lifestyles for Kids), a Healthy Tomorrows program, and hosts an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. In addition, T2U has formed an Advisory Board to guide the implementation and expansion of program innovation.


T2U's evaluation process includes empirically supported instruments, program specific instruments, and school administrative data. Assessment surveys completed by school personnel assess their mental health literacy (knowledge of mental health issues in youth, self-efficacy in addressing these issues, and stigma). Staff review outcomes with them during school personnel meetings. Classroom teachers complete surveys to assess, address, and track measurable outcomes (classroom behavior, academic performance, and social-emotional wellbeing). T2U will utilize these evaluation survey methods to demonstrate continued success as the program expands to additional locations.