Supportive Relationships Among Former System Youth With Mental Health Challenges


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

This study explored the supportive relationships that former system youth (FSY; e.g., foster care) with mental health challenges identified as “key” in making the transition to adulthood. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 59 FSY, ages 18 to 25, with mental health challenges. Participants were asked to reflect on their relationships with a key helper or what the literature defines as a natural mentor, “an adult that has been particularly helpful, or supportive,” in this case with their mental health. Seventy-six percent (N = 45) of the participants identified a key helper. Relationship qualities that emerged as salient to successful transition included consistency, mutuality, and empathy. The nature of support received included emotional, informational, and tangible support. Implications for research, practice, and policy are discussed.

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