Youth Perspectives | Research Reflection: Mental Health and Transitions from Adolescence to Emerging Adulthood

Posted March 30, 2016 Intransitions, mental health, research summary, youth perspectives


by Nimrut Sahota
YouthREX Youth Research Assistant, KM



I am graduating from high school this year and next year I am entering a nursing program. I am most interested in the issues of health in relation to youth. As a Youth Research Assistant with the Knowledge Mobilization Team at YouthREX, I’ve chosen the research summary on the article Mental Health and Transitions from Adolescence to Emerging Adulthood by Dr. Karen Macleod and Dr. Elizabeth Brownlie to engage with and reflect on. 


The summary helped me to learn that the transition period from adolescence to adulthood is challenging for many youth:

      • This transition is an onset period for mental health especially for youth who have diverse identities  
      • Depression, anxiety and substance use disorder are the most common mental health issues for youth as youth attempt to find their identity and experiment with independence
      • Being more aware of development changes in youth at this age such as dating and employment will allow mental health services to help these youth to a higher extent 
      • Resources/services created to address these mental issues should consider these development changes and issues. 


The research summary, “Mental Health and Transitions from Adolescence to Emerging Adulthood” explores the topic of mental health and youth during their transitional stage, highlighting flaws and including tips for addressing the mental health needs of a teen. 


The report estimates that about 40% of youth experience mental health challenges. This is not surprising for me at all; there have been many incidences relating to mental health that have occurred at my high school over the years and so I’m not new to the issue. 


The research highlights that it is vital to address mental health issues in youth immediately as failing to do so can create more complex issues for the individual later on in life. I again, agree with this and am glad that these points are being brought up.


The research stressed that proactive services need to be created that take into account the impact of developmental changes on youth mental health along with a more responsive approach to the needs that youth encounter when transitioning. The paper also includes recommendations on how to do this including addressing mental health onsets early, having a preventative approach, reducing stigma by raising awareness, and targeting the populations that are most ‘at risk’ for mental health issues. This data was presented in an orderly list and was concise. I think each point presented was relevant and factors that I had not thought of. There is also a short paragraph on both who the research is about as well as how it was conducted (focused on transition aged youth, generally between 16 and 25, who are receiving services that they will continue to need to support their transition from adolescence to adulthood, research was done by assessing literature from the past 15 years that analyzed mental health challenges faced by transitioning youth). 


The research summary closes off by mentioning the importance of this research for youth. Mental health issues are proven to increase criminal activity and increases health care costs drastically. There are few organizations/services put in place that help these transitioning youth and address their needs by having a proper understanding of what factors effect developing youth.  


Feature image by Ondas DeRudio
Used under Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic


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