Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Nursing

Supervisor

Booth, Richard

2nd Supervisor

Jackson, Kimberley T.

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

The transition from adolescence to adulthood brings with it many new challenges and stressors that may negatively impact psychosocial wellbeing. Unfortunately, the disjointed progression from paediatric to adult psychiatric services leaves transitional-aged youth (TAY) vulnerable to its deleterious sequelae, including social isolation, self-harm, substance use, and suicidal ideation. As devised, the Canadian mental health sector is ill-equipped to meet the care demands of emerging adults, resulting in undue suffering. Current evidence validates the need for clinical practice reform and policy revision to address this issue, yet the perspectives of young people are consistently underrepresented in conversations regarding youth-oriented psychiatric program development, despite a desire to share their personal narratives.

This paper describes the findings of a youth-led participatory action research (YPAR) study conducted in London, Ontario, Canada. An acronym for Supporting Transition-Readiness for Emerging Adults with Mental health challenges, the PhotoSTREAM Project explored the perspectives of eight TAY (aged 18-24), who progressed from paediatric to adult psychiatric services within the province of Ontario. Through a combination of photography, focus groups discussions, and individual interviews, the Photovoice method was employed to illuminate TAY interactions with the mental health system during this period of transition; thereby, highlighting the strengths and shortcomings of existing policies and practices that impact quality and continuity of care for this age demographic. Insights gathered using this collaborative, participatory, and action-oriented research framework contribute to an enhanced awareness of psychiatric service delivery gaps experienced by emerging adults, and advocate for seamless and supportive transitions that more effectively meet the needs of the TAY population.

Summary for Lay Audience

The transition from adolescence to adulthood brings with it many new challenges and stressors that may negatively impact mental health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, the disjointed progression from paediatric to adult psychiatric services leaves transitional-aged youth (TAY) vulnerable to negative consequences, including social isolation, self-harm, substance use, and suicidal ideation. As devised, the Canadian mental health sector is ill-equipped to meet the care demands of emerging adults, resulting in undue suffering. Current research validates the need for clinical practice reform and policy revision to address this issue, yet the perspectives of young people are consistently underrepresented in conversations regarding youth-oriented psychiatric program development, despite a desire to share their personal narratives.

This paper describes the findings of a youth-led participatory action research (YPAR) study conducted in London, Ontario, Canada. An acronym for Supporting Transition-Readiness for Emerging Adults with Mental health challenges, the PhotoSTREAM Project explored the perspectives of eight TAY (aged 18-24), who progressed from paediatric to adult psychiatric services within the province of Ontario. Through a combination of photography, focus groups discussions, and individual interviews, the Photovoice method was used to illuminate TAY interactions with the mental health system during this period of transition; thereby, highlighting the strengths and shortcomings of existing policies and practices that impact quality and continuity of care for this age demographic. Insights gathered using this collaborative and action-oriented research framework contribute to an enhanced awareness of psychiatric service delivery gaps experienced by emerging adults, and advocate for seamless and supportive transitions that more effectively meet the needs of the TAY population.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Saturday, July 24, 2021

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