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Navigating Tunnels and Cliffs: Empowering Families and Caregivers to Assist Youth with Mental Health Needs in Preparing for Work

May 4, 2008 Publication

Research shows that good mental health intervention strategies emphasize work as part of recovery. Unfortunately, for families and caregivers of many youth with mental health needs, career preparation and exploration are not top priorities. Rather their time is frequently spent as “case managers,” struggling with navigating a fragmented mental health service delivery system, while trying to manage day-to-day pressures. In addition, families and caregivers often have to fight for service coordination amidst inconsistent methods of disability identification that have the potential of leaving a young person without access to services because he or she may be considered as having mental health needs in school settings, but not qualified to receive services under the eligibility criteria used in the adult system.

Youth, families and caregivers do not have to go at it alone when it comes to helping a young person with a disability prepare for the workforce. This short cut provides the information needed to prepare for a young person with mental health needs for a career, including promising practices from the field and an action plan for success.

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