The numbers don’t lie—young adults today face mental health challenges at alarming rates. Nearly 1 in 3 people ages 18 to 25 experience a mental health condition each year, the highest of any age group. Almost 10% live with a serious mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
With half of all lifetime mental health disorders starting by age 14, it’s no wonder so many young adults struggle during this transitional period of life. The challenges of new responsibilities, independence, relationships, and identity issues are difficult enough without the added pressures of anxiety, mood, or behavioral disorder.
This article explains how transitional living programs for young adults work, whose eligible to sign up, benefits of transitional living, and more.
What Are Transitional Living Programs for Young Adults?
Transitional living programs are designed to help young adults slowly transition back to independent living after residential mental health treatment. Rather than going straight from 24/7 care to living alone, transitional living allows you to ease into increased independence and responsibility.
Transitional living programs typically involve living in a shared housing situation with other individuals in recovery. You’ll follow a structured schedule for chores, social activities, treatment, and free time. The options have expanded in recent years, ranging from group homes and supported apartments to college dorm-like facilities. The right program depends on the level of independence and types of services needed. Do research, visit facilities, and ask about their approach to both life skills and mental health support to find the best fit.
Staff provide guidance and monitor progress, but you’ll have more freedom and autonomy than in residential treatment. The ultimate goal is to prepare you to live independently and manage your mental health.
Eligibility Criteria for Transitional Living
To be eligible for transitional living programs for young adults, several criteria must be met:
- Age: Most programs accept individuals between 18 to 30 years of age, though some have flexible age limits up to 35. The programs aim to help young adults transition into independence.
- Mental Health Condition: You must have a diagnosed severe mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression that requires ongoing treatment and support. Some accept those with co-occurring substance use disorders.
- Housing & Daily Living Skills: You may not currently have stable housing or be fully able to care for yourself upon discharge from a residential program. Transitional living helps build skills to live independently through coaching and practice in a supportive environment.
- Commitment to Recovery: You must be committed to your recovery and obtaining further treatment like therapy, medication management, social services, and vocational rehabilitation. The transitional living program provides a stepping stone to accessing community-based resources and continuity of care.
- Other Criteria: Additional factors like income level, insurance coverage, legal history, family support, and motivation for change may be considered on an individual basis. The goal is to determine if the program can adequately meet your needs during the transition to self-sufficiency.
Benefits of Transitional Living for Young Adults
Transitional living programs offer several key advantages for young adults.
Stronger foundation in recovery
Transitional living provides a strong foundation for recovery by giving you more time to build life skills and stay focused on your sobriety goals before living independently. With the support of staff and peers, you can strengthen your coping strategies and solidify lessons learned in treatment.
Professional case management
Case managers at transitional living programs help connect you with community resources to set you up for success after discharge. They can assist with tasks like finding a job or housing, applying for education or vocational programs, and accessing healthcare and insurance. With professional guidance, you’ll feel more prepared to handle challenges on your own.
Living in a transitional program means having experienced staff and peers readily available if you experience difficulties. They provide an immediate “safety net” and crisis support to help you work through issues that could threaten your recovery or transition to independence. This level of support can help prevent relapse or other setbacks.
Improving social skills
A transitional living environment gives you opportunities to improve communication, relationship building, and other social skills with staff and peers before living solo. Strong social support and the ability to interact constructively with others are vital for lifelong recovery and success. Transitional living allows you to strengthen these skills in a safe, supportive place.
Key Features to Look for in a Quality Program
When evaluating transitional living programs, look for ones that offer the following key features:
- Life skills training: Programs should teach skills like financial literacy, job readiness, and independent living. These helps set young adults up for success after leaving the program.
- Individualized support: Each person has unique needs, strengths, and goals. Look for a program that provides one-on-one support to develop a customized plan for growth and transition to independence. Mentorship and counseling are ideal.
- Safe, structured environment: A good program will provide stability, routine, and rules to help build life skills in a controlled setting. But also allows for increasing independence and freedom over time as skills and maturity develop.
- Education and career support: The program should help participants finish high school if needed, get job training, or pursue higher education. They offer guidance on setting and achieving education and career goals to enable independence.
- Community engagement: Strong programs connect participants to community resources, local organizations, and volunteer opportunities. This helps to build connections, experience, skills, and social skills that support success after transitioning out of the program.
- Aftercare planning and support: The best programs provide follow-up support and services after participants transition out. This aftercare helps ensure continued progress and the ability to live self-sufficiently, especially in the critical first months of complete independence.
What To Ask Transitional Living Programs
When evaluating transitional living programs, ask questions to determine if the program and environment will be the right fit for your needs. Some key things to consider:
Philosophy and Approach
What is the program’s philosophy or approach to transitional living? Is it faith-based or secular? What types of life skills and training do they focus on? Making sure the program’s values and priorities align with your own can help set you up for success.
How experienced are the staff members? Do they have specific training or credentials to help young adults transition to independence? More experienced staff will be better equipped to provide guidance and support.
What does a typical day or week look like? How structured or unstructured is the program? Some offer a good balance of autonomy and guidance. Determine how much independence and flexibility you need to feel comfortable.
Cost and Assistance
How much does the program cost? Are there scholarships, grants or stipends available to help fund your stay? Don’t rule out a good program just based on cost before exploring all options for assistance.
Accommodations and Resources
What types of housing and facilities does the program offer? Do they provide additional resources like transportation, healthcare, counseling or job placement help? The more comprehensive the available resources, the less you’ll have to navigate on your own during this transition.
Rules and Requirements
What are the program’s rules, curfews, and requirements? Make sure you understand all expectations up front and that you feel capable of meeting them. Some rules are necessary to help young adults develop life skills, but you want to maintain some level of independence and control over your choices.
Asking the right questions will help you find a transitional living program tailored to your unique situation and needs. Take your time exploring all options to choose a place where you feel empowered and supported.
Read more: Understanding Why Your Mental Health Matters
Call Riviera Recovery Today
The decision to enter a transitional living program is an important one that can have life-changing results. At Riviera Recovery, our caring staff understand the challenges young adults face after leaving residential treatment or inpatient care. We provide structured support to help you continue your recovery journey and prepare for independent living.
The caring professionals at Riviera Recovery are here to empower you on your journey to wellness and independent living. Our transitional living programs provide a safe place to heal, grow, and start building the life you want. Call us today at 855-207-9708 to learn more about this important next step in your recovery