The transition from adolescence to adulthood brings with it many new challenges and potential stressors that may negatively impact one’s psychosocial wellbeing. Consequently, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 experience higher rates of mental distress than any other age group. While it has long been recognized that stability, consistency, and continuity of care are of paramount importance for such individuals, the disjointed progression between paediatric and adult psychiatric services leaves many adolescents vulnerable to its 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 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 clear desire to share their personal narratives.
BRINGING BARRIERS INTO FOCUS
A STREAM-LINED APPROACH:
SUPPORTING TRANSITION-READINESS FOR EMERGING ADULTS WITH MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES
The PhotoSTREAM Project seeks to address the research question: how do youth living with mental health challenges experience the transition from paediatric to adult psychiatric services? Through the unique combination of photography, focus groups, and interviews, the Photovoice method will be employed to illuminate participant perspectives and incite meaningful discussion regarding the strengths and shortcomings of existing mental health services, and opportunities for more seamless and supportive care transitions that bridge the gap faced by Canada's emerging adults.
DESIGNED WITH YOUTH IN MIND
We are seeking a group of 10 to 15 highly-motivated young people to be involved in a participatory action research study that will use photography to explore the mental health care experiences of Ontario's youth. This project is intended for adults between the ages of 18 and 24 who have previously, or are currently living with mental health challenges, and who have interacted with Ontario’s mental health care system as both a child/adolescent and as an adult. The purpose of this study is to learn about the transition from paediatric to adult psychiatric services, and more specifically, the gaps or barriers that impact care experiences, so that recommendations can be made for more effective and supportive transition policies and practices. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the PhotoSTREAM Project, please visit the PARTICIPATE section of our website, or CONTACT the research team today.