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GAO: Some states, federal agencies address transition of young adults with serious mental illness

The Government Accountability Office looked into what services are available to help young adults with serious mental illness make the transition to adulthood. The transition to adulthood can be difficult for young adults who suffer from a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. When these individuals are unsuccessful, the result can be economic hardship, social isolation, and in some cases suicide, all of which can pose substantial costs to society. The GAO analyzed data based on national surveys, including the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), and administrative data from the Social Security Administration (SSA). GAO also reviewed published research; interviewed federal, state, and local officials, as well as mental health providers, experts, and advocacy groups; and conducted site visits in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Mississippi – four states that focus on this population. The four states have developed programs that offer multidimensional services designed to be age-appropriate and to address various needs, such as mental health care, vocational rehabilitation, employment, life-skills development, and, in some cases, housing.