Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 209–215 | Cite as

Launching into Adulthood from Institutional Care with a Serious Mental Health Condition

  • Vanessa Vorhies Klodnick
  • Kristin E. Davis
  • Marc A. Fagan
  • Allison Elias
Brief Report


This qualitative study explores the experiences of emerging adults with serious mental health conditions (e.g., bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder) before and after they emancipate from the child welfare system and exit a transitional living program. Sixteen participants were interviewed before and 13 were interviewed after aging out. Findings suggest that transitional living programs services were appreciated for the relationships and safety net they fostered. Future plans were positive, but vague, and worries about the future were prevalent. Struggles with independence post-emancipation were common despite adult service use. Additional research is needed to understand how to best support these at-risk emerging adults.


Emerging adulthood Transition age youth Serious mental illness Residential care Qualitative research 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Vorhies Klodnick
    • 1
  • Kristin E. Davis
    • 1
  • Marc A. Fagan
    • 2
  • Allison Elias
    • 2
  1. 1.Thresholds-Dartmouth Research CenterChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Thresholds Psychiatric Rehabilitation CentersYouth ServicesChicagoUSA

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