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Subjective Experiences of Having and Managing a Serious Mental Health Condition in Young Adulthood

Year: 2019

Slide deck from a presentation at the 32nd Annual Research and Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent and Young Adult Behavioral Health

Subjective Experiences of Having and Managing a Serious Mental Health Condition in Young Adulthood

Symposium Chair: Amanda Costa, Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research (ACR), Worcester, MA; Discussant: Vanessa Vorhies Klodnick, PhD, Thresholds Youth & Young Adult Services & the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Very little research has captured the subjective experiences of managing a serious mental health condition (SMHC) as a young adult. The sociological concept of “illness career” refers to the dynamic process through which one identifies as having a mental health need and their interactions with the mental health treatment system to manage those needs. One’s illness career influences one’s life course significantly. This symposium will use qualitative data from 61 young adults (ages 22-30) with SMHCs to explore when and how they were diagnosed, their experiences with mental health treatment providers and medications, and their hospitalization experiences. A better understanding of a young adult’s mental health treatment experiences, patterns, and perceptions can influence how they pursue school, work, and future mental health treatment. Findings from this symposium can invaluably inform service providers, policy-makers, and family members.