Young Adults with Serious Mental Illness: Some States and Federal Agencies Are Taking Steps to Address Their Challenges

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United States Government Accountability Office (GAO)

The GAO estimates that at least 2.4 million young adults, ages 18 to 26, or 6.5 percent of the non-institutionalized young adults in that age range, had a serious mental illness in 2006, and they had lower levels of education on average than other young adults.

The GAO visited four states -- Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts and Mississippi -- to observe programs designed to help young adults with mental illness transition into adulthood. Program strategies include broadening eligibility criteria to receive services, employing evidence-based Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAHMSA) practices, coordinating efforts across state agencies, leveraging funding sources, and involving consumers and family members in developing policies and services.

The data are meant to provide information on the number of young adults with mental illness and their demographic characteristics, the challenges they face, how selected states assist them, as well as how the federal government supports states in serving these young adults and coordinates programs that can assist them. Free, 88 pages. (202) 512-3000,