Go-Throughs to Get Through: Mental Health Experiences of Young Adults in Poverty
By Nia West-Bey
Young adults living in poverty face high exposure to “go throughs”: lived experiences of structural disadvantage and trauma with lasting implications for educational, economic, and other life outcomes. They frequently “get through” these challenges without formal mental health supports, relying on community-based programs and peer networks to cope with their experiences.
“Everybody Got Their Go Throughs”: Young Adults on the Frontlines of Mental Health summarizes findings from focus groups and analysis of data from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The accompanying infographics visually represent young adults’ understanding of mental health and provide an overview of the national data included in the report.
The report’s major findings are a call to action, underlining the importance of an assets-based approach to mental health supports for youth and young adults. Such an approach recognizes and validates strengths, resilience, and young adults’ drive to fully achieve their education, employment, and life goals.
In the context of the current federal health care fight, “Everybody Got Their Go Throughs” highlights the racial and economic justice implications of the Medicaid expansion and full implementation of the mental health parity and prevention provisions of the Affordable Care Act for low-income young adults. Beyond the current political moment, the report also outlines a set of principles for framing mental health policy and practice.