Community Integration of Transition-Age Individuals: Views of Young with Mental Health Disorders

  • Pauline JivanjeeEmail author
  • Jean Kruzich
  • Lynwood J. Gordon
Regular Article


This qualitative study examines the perceptions of young adults with mental health disorders of community integration. Fifty-nine young men and women participated in 12 focus groups whose aim was to gain understanding of what community integration means to them. Focus group questions also explored barriers and supports for their community integration, as well as their goals for the future and advice to others facing similar challenges. Themes that emerged were reported within the multiple domains that participants used to describe their experiences of community integration (or the lack thereof). This study highlights the desires of these young people to achieve goals in education and employment and to have friendships. Participants identified a pervasive lack of understanding of mental health and prevalent stigmatizing attitudes as resulting in challenges to their community integration. Implications of the study discuss roles for behavioral health services in encouraging empowerment, choices, and connections so that young people with mental health disorders may achieve their preferred levels of community integration.


transition-age youth community integration mental health disorders focus groups participatory research 



This research was supported by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education, and the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Grant #H133B040038). The content does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the funding agencies. The authors wish to thank Jan Lacy and Lacey Vankirk for their valuable contributions to the project and study participants for sharing their experiences and perspectives.


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Copyright information

© National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pauline Jivanjee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean Kruzich
    • 2
  • Lynwood J. Gordon
    • 3
  1. 1.Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children’s Mental HealthPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Clark County Department of Community ServicesVancouverUSA

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