By Youth, For Youth: Digital Supported Peer Navigation for Addressing Child Mental Health Inequities


University of California (UC), Riverside


Not yet enrolling


Mental Health Issue


Behavioral: Navigator Plus App Intervention

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


Black and Latino youth are more likely to experience an unmet mental health or psychosocial need than do their white counterparts. Schools and primary care clinics are ideal hubs to provide mental health, healthcare, social services, and prevention to students and families who otherwise face barriers to care. Using Participatory Design and Community Partnered Participatory Research (CPPR) for app development, mobile technology is designed to optimize access to wellness resources. The proposed intervention is a model of care using technology and navigators for connecting youth ages 13-22 to mental health care and supports. The app is co-created with the community and supported by culturally responsive individuals called family and youth navigators, in schools and primary care clinics. Outcomes are measured using the cascade of care model.

Full description

Using Participatory Design and Community Partnered Participatory Research (CPPR), UCLA and UCR psychiatry research centers with Los Angeles Trust for Children's Health aim to: (1) Fully co-design (with youth, caregivers, clinicians and other stakeholders) an innovative mental health digital tool, called Connected for Wellness, to implement algorithmically supported mental health + social determinants, resiliency app based tools and navigation activities AND help support the clinical workforce within schools and primary care clinics (PCCs); (2) Study the implementation of mental health navigation models (family and youth navigation) plus the Connected for Wellness app, and their effectiveness for improving connecting and matching youth to the right level of care and supports. We will accomplish these aims through three strategies: (1) Use community participatory informatics to co-design a mental health digital tool called Connected for Wellness, to support mental health navigation, linking youth to a range of mental health services, evidence-based prevention resources referred via the app, and other school, clinic, community, and social supports; (2) Integrate mental health self-assessments and artificial intelligence (AI) in Connected for Wellness to individualize app resources, optimize engagement and recommendations for addressing mental health and social needs; (3) Using a stepped wedge design, test the implementation of the app supported by mental health navigation models (peer navigators, family navigators) for improving connections and access to prevention resources, mental health services and social supports, for youth and families. This project will be initiated with youth 13-22 years old and their family and community members across 10 Los Angeles County Schools and 10 Riverside County/University of California Riverside primary care clinics, which serve mostly Black, Latino, and Asian youth. A successful outcome of the project is a CPPR developed app-based intervention implementable in school-based and primary care services for access to wellness resources and improving mental health services access along the cascade of care. Outcomes are measured using the cascade of care model with the following key stages: (1) need identification, (2) referral to care/ linkage to resources, and (3) care initiation.


8,360 estimated patients




13 to 99 years old


Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Youth 13-22 enrolled in high school or participating primary care clinics, and their caregivers.

Exclusion criteria

  • Those not meeting inclusion criteria

Trial design

Primary purpose

Health Services Research



Interventional model

Crossover Assignment


None (Open label)

8,360 participants in 2 patient groups

Care as usual
No Intervention group
All individuals within each site regardless of type of site or step period will begin with a control period of care as usual Youth and parents within each site will have access to navigators who will share information about mental health and social services supports as well as referrals. The duration of the control period (1, 2, or 3 years; collected via medical and/or other administrative records) will depend on the step period of the individual's site.
Experimental group
In this stepped wedge design, following a period of care as usual as a control, sites will then cross over to the experimental arm, during which, all youth and their caregivers at the enrolled site are encouraged to download and use the wellness app for the duration of the implementation period. Navigators promote and support use of the app.
Behavioral: Navigator Plus App Intervention

Trial contacts and locations



Central trial contact

Sheryl Kataoka, MD, MSHS; Lisa Fortuna, MD, MPH

Data sourced from

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