Perspectives of Young Emerging Adults With Serious Mental Health Conditions on Vocational Peer Mentors

UMMS Affiliation

Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center, Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Mental Disorders | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling


For early emerging adults with serious mental health conditions, vocational services with peer mentors are a promising adaptation of adult system evidence-based practices. Peer mentors were added to the Individual Placement and Support model of supported employment for 17- to 20-year-olds receiving residential and psychiatric care. To explore the feasibility of vocational peer mentors, open-ended satisfaction surveys and the Working Alliance Inventory were administered to mentees at 12 months. Thematic analysis of surveys reveals the importance of peer mentor authenticity, flexibility, and being a graduate of the mental health program where vocational services were based. Valued relational processes include the act of talking in the community, feeling understood, and forming a bond with peer mentors. Mentees with positive peer mentoring experiences reported stronger working alliances. This study sheds light onto near-age mentoring relational processes for this population, which can inform future research of mentoring processes and intervention design.


transition age youth, peer mentoring, intervention adaptation, vocational services

DOI of Published Version



Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. 2015, Dec 1; 23(4):226-237. doi: 10.1177/1063426614565052. Epub 2014 Dec 29.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders