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Young Adults as Peer Recovery Workers: Perspectives of Workers and Supervisors

Young adults (between ages 18-30) with mental health conditions experience high rates of unemployment, even though a majority of them want to work and have careers. Like their age-related peers, they perceive employment and career development as opportunities to be self-sufficient and become valued members of society. Unfortunately, research has not identified any vocational intervention and support that effectively promotes these employment outcomes.

Young adults with mental health conditions are increasingly finding rewarding work as peer recovery workers/mentors (PRW). PRW is a general term referring to people in recovery from mental health and/or addictions issues who use self-disclosure to provide people with direct emotional support, aid in developing a recovery plan, and help navigating the health system. Employment as PRWs appear to introduce young adults PRWs to various career paths, as evidenced by those who have moved on to different jobs in mental health (as a peer or not), other health-related jobs, and/or higher education.