MSU UARC is shutting down effective June 30, 2021. We are no longer taking on new projects.

Mental Health Information for Teenagers

Millions of youth have a parent with a mental illness; they live day to day with parental mental illness symptom level changes, but report they do not have access to much information about mental illness and recovery for their needs and from their perspective. The mission of the Mental Health Information for Teens (MHIT) website is to provide accurate, non-stigmatized mental health information for young people. It is especially for those with a family member, often a parent, that has a mental illness.

MSU UARC developed an information architecture for the MHIT website in conjunction with the MSU School of Social Work with funding from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation. User needs and feedback were collected from youth (12-17 years old) via focus groups that included card sorts and through a findability validation study for a candidate information architecture. Content is being added to the Mental Health Information for Teens (MHIT) website with a focus on continuing to involve youth to test, develop, and enhance the website. A usability evaluation of a prototype version with draft content was conducted in April of 2019 with pairs of teenagers trying website tasks on a tablet and giving feedback.


  • Riebschleger, J., Swierenga, S. J., Cavanaugh, D., Ismirle, J. (2019). Social work and tech expert collaboration building user-informed mental health web resources. Interactive workshop in the Technology in Social Work Education and Practice Track for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting (APM), Denver, CO, October 25-27, 2019.
  • Riebschlegar, J., Cavanaugh, D., Ismirle, J., & Swierenga, S. J. (2018, March 5). Teamwork to develop a website for children of parents with a mental illness. Presented at the Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Mental Health Conference, Tampa, FL.