UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

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Document Type



Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Background: Young adults have elevated rates of mental health disorders, yet they often do not receive consistent care. The challenge of continuing to engage young adults has been pervasive worldwide. Few engagement interventions have been designed for young adults with serious mental illness. Just Do You is a theoretically guided engagement intervention. It uses innovative modalities (i.e., technology, expressive arts activities, narrative expression, mentoring) to engage participants in conversations about services and how they work, while simultaneously orienting them to treatment.

Methods/design: This pilot and feasibility study utilizes a hybrid research design, examining feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary impact, alongside implementation. The study combines qualitative methods, a small pilot randomized trial, and a small cost-benefit analysis. Respondents are clinic staff and young adults who have made initial contact with the Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) program. Quantitative survey data are collected at baseline, 2 weeks (post-intervention), 1 month, and 3 months. The assessments focus on measuring feasibility, acceptability, engagement, and mental health outcomes. Medical record extraction will be used to triangulate self-report data. We will conduct single degree of freedom contrasts to examine whether Just Do You leads to improved outcomes relative to Treatment-As-Usual using robust regression for each outcome measure. We will examine whether changes in the proposed mediating variables occur across groups using a similar contrast strategy. In addition, we will use structural equation modeling to examine the contribution of mediators to ultimate outcomes. Finally, we will use constant comparison coding techniques for qualitative analyses.

Discussion: The aim of this study is to examine the feasibility of a young adult engagement meta-intervention through an intensive preliminary pilot trial, learning through collaboration with stakeholders. Just Do You has the potential to fill a gap in the service system for young adults with serious mental illnesses, improving the seemingly intractable problem of disengagement. The program uses culturally responsive strategies, is recovery-oriented, and builds upon the best evidence to date. Our efforts align with local and national health care reform efforts embedding people with lived experience.

Trial registration: This trial was registered with (Identifier: NCT03423212) on April 18, 2018, as Protocol Record R34 MH111861-01, New York University, as the Just Do You Program for Young Adults with Serious Mental Illness.


Engagement, Experimental therapeutics, Hybrid I Trial, Serious mental illness, Young adults

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

DOI of Published Version



Munson MR, Jaccard JJ, Scott LD Jr, Narendorf SC, Moore KL, Jenefsky N, Cole A, Davis M, Gilmer T, Shimizu R, Pleines K, Cooper K, Rodwin AH, Hylek L, Amaro A. Engagement intervention versus treatment as usual for young adults with serious mental illness: a randomized pilot trial. Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2020 Jul 23;6:107. doi: 10.1186/s40814-020-00650-w. PMID: 32714561; PMCID: PMC7376671. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Pilot and feasibility studies

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.