Connecting Youth in Foster Care With Needed Mental Health Services: Lessons From Research on Help-Seeking

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Help-seeking behavior, adolescents, foster case, self-sufficiency


This article examines how adolescents seek out help for their mental health problems by providing an overview of the research from the health and social service literature. The main goal of the paper is to explore the concept of adolescent's help-seeking in relation to the foster care experience. Two models of help-seeking and health care utilization are reviewed in an effort to gain a better insight on improving the help-seeking skills for foster youth. These skills can then become “life-long skills” that the adolescents can draw upon for their enhanced independence and self-sufficiency, especially as they leave foster care and enter adulthood. However, the review of the literature leads the authors to the conclusion that youth in foster care may not be viewed as help-seekers but rather as “help-receivers.”


This article was originally published as Unrau, Y. A., Conrady-Brown, M., Zosky, D.L., & Grinnell, R. M. (2006). Connecting youth in foster care with needed mental health services: Lessons from research on help-seeking. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 3 (2), 91-109.