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Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 435–446 | Cite as

The Age of Uncertainty: Parent Perspectives on the Transitions of Young People with Mental Health Difficulties to Adulthood

  • Pauline Jivanjee
  • Jean M. Kruzich
  • Lynwood J. Gordon
Original Paper

Abstract

For young people aged 16–24, the transition from adolescence to young adulthood involves predictable and unpredictable changes and they may encounter challenges in their roles, relationships, and responsibilities. Young people with mental health difficulties face additional challenges as they and their families navigate this transition. As a result, families commonly experience anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, and turbulent relationships. After learning to become advocates to secure appropriate services for their children, in late adolescence and young adulthood, parents are likely to find themselves excluded from their children’s treatment planning and services. This article reports findings from a recent qualitative study of the experiences and perceptions of 42 family members supporting their children with mental health difficulties during the transition years. Family members described their goals for their children, their frustrations trying to access appropriate services for their children, and their strategies to provide the support their children needed. Recommendations are for service providers to connect transition age youth with practical assistance and supportive mentoring relationships. Family members requested service providers to consider them as resources and potential collaborators in supporting young people with mental health difficulties to live successful lives in the community.

Keywords

Family perspectives Parent roles Transitions Mental health services Community integration 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was conducted with funding from the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), United States Department of Education, and the Center for Mental Health Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (NIDRR grant number H133B990025). The content does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the funding agencies. The authors wish to thank Nancy Koroloff, Jan Lacy, and Cathy Callahan-Clem and members of the project advisory groups for their assistance, and research participants for sharing their experiences and perceptions.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pauline Jivanjee
    • 1
  • Jean M. Kruzich
    • 2
  • Lynwood J. Gordon
    • 3
  1. 1.Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children’s Mental HealthPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Clark County Department of Community ServicesVancouverUSA

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