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It turned out to be a psychotic episode. Lehane said his son was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For Lehane, who is president of the organization Newport Mental Health, this moment more than a decade ago was a turning point. He had dedicated his career to working in mental health, but he saw firsthand how easy it can be, as a parent, to misinterpret early s and symptoms of mental illness in young adults.

Lehane said his now grown-up son is healthy and thriving, in part because of the effective treatment he got as a young adult. But many others go much longer, even years, from their first symptoms of severe mental illness to when they finally receive treatment. Little touches to make the space feel fun.

Sometimes young adults go through periods of sadness or depression, Mullen said. But the team at the young adult center is trained to spot behaviors that indicate more severe mental health disorders, like clinical depression. Those figures are ificantly higher than for any other age group. Those clients are treated regardless of their ability to pay, or whether they have insurance. And Healthy Transitions is an outpatient program, so they are able to live at home — and stay in school or their job, if they have one.

Team leader Gina Mullen and David Boscia, director of community support programs at Newport Mental Health, helped launch the new youth center in December. Two months in, they have about 20 clients.

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The program is already treating a wide spectrum of mental illness. Some clients have severe depression or anxiety, while others have PTSD or are experiencing their first episode of psychosis. One teenager presented with delusions, out of touch with reality.

But after the staff worked with the client and his family, they figured out that he was inadvertently inducing his psychosis through drug use. Beyond these individual successes, the program hopes to support a larger cultural shift around how young people think and talk about their mental health, especially during the pandemic. When the center opened, Newport Mental Health sent out postcards to every household in Newport County. This story is a production of New England News Collaborative. Close close Donate. Listen Live: On Point. Close Close.

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