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Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation

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Social work with youth, Youth -- Mental health services, Young adults -- Mental health services, Strategies -- Vocational Rehabilitation


Background: The ability of vocational rehabilitation, adult mental health and child mental health service systems to collaborate regarding the employment and career development goals of transition-age youth has not been explored nor has attention been paid to strategies that would increase this collaboration.

Objective: his qualitative study asks leaders from these three systems to describe collaborative activities that support better vocational services for transition-age youth with serious mental health conditions and discuss barriers and facilitators to collaboration.

Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted with 39 formal and informal leaders in vocational rehabilitation (n = 16), child mental health (n = 13), and adult mental health (n = 10) systems as part of a larger study of interorganizational relationships.

Results: A primary barrier was lack of knowledge about the services and policies of each other’s systems. Another barrier was differences in philosophy about employment and the special needs of transition-age youth with mental health needs.

Conclusions: In addition to specific activities that would encourage greater interaction across three systems, results underscore the need for the child mental health system and vocational rehabilitation system to increase their involvement with and knowledge about one another. This would include training child mental health providers about employment and career development services, vocational rehabilitation providers about the role of mental health in the youngest workers, and both being involved in transition-planning that directly addresses vocational goals and support needs.


Copyright 2022 IOS Press


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 1-15. http:/

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