Project Step-Up (A multi-level, school-based mental health service for youth evidencing academic failure and mental health difficulties)

The goals of Project Step-Up are

  • Delivery of a school, family and community-based mental health intervention for adolescents (14 to 17 years of age) with serious impairments in behavioral and educational functioning due to complex and unmet mental health difficulties
  • Providing Project Step-Up within urban high school programs and neighboring inner-city communities; and examining the process of mental health service delivery and the impact of Project Step-Up on youth mental health, impairment and functioning across inner-city ecological contexts

The process of developing the service delivery model involved convening a collaborative planning group consisting of 40 14-17 year old adolescents attending two inner-city high schools in East Harlem and Bronx, NY. These groups were charged with making decisions regarding the specific content and service delivery processes.

Currently, Step-Up is being examined with funding from the Robinhood Foundation. Preliminary rates of engagement for the first 45 students assigned to the Step-Up are summarized in Figure 3.

Figure 3


In addition, there is emerging preliminary evidence that Step-Up is associated with significant reductions in youth mental health symptoms (see Table 6).


Table 6

Contact Us

Mary M. McKay, PhD
Tel: 212-659-8836
Send e-mail

Icahn School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
One Gustave L. Levy Place
Box 1230
New York, NY 10029