An Exploratory Study on Mental Health Service Experience and Its Perceived Impact on Young Adults Transitioning Out of Foster Care.
Theses, Dissertations, and Projects. Paper 701.
Aldape, Sonia Lizette.
This qualitative study explores the self-reported perspectives of thirteen transitional aged (18-24 years old) current and former foster youth on their experiences with mental health services. This study fills a gap in mental health research that lacks substantial literature on the experiences of foster youth transitioning out of care, effectiveness of their mental health services and of foster youth’s voices as consumers. This study aims to inform practice for clinicians and social workers referring or providing mental health services to current and or former foster youth. Clinicians and social workers can use their positions to provide and advocate for accessible and quality mental health treatment for this population and can support them to advocate for themselves when navigating mental health care. Self-reported decision-making process, service experience, opinions and motivations to seek treatment post-care are explored through qualitative interviews with thirteen adult participants in this study. The findings of this project reveal that participants’ value autonomy, a caring relationship, feeling heard or understood and highlighted challenges to accessing mental health due to mental health stigma and mystification. Limitations and implications of the findings are discussed. (Author abstract)
foster adolescents; foster care alumni; young adults; aging out; mental health services; impact measures; advocacy; qualitative research