Associate Professor Michelle Munson Awarded Silberman Fund Grant

The Lois and Samuel Silberman Fund Faculty Grant Program has awarded Associate Professor Michelle Munson a two-year grant for her project “Mental Health and Service Use Among Immigrant and Minority Young Adults Living in Low Resource Communities.” This funding supports research Munson has been conducting on the Lower East Side for the past two years. The study randomly samples apartment units in public housing developments, where young adults are often coping with high rates of poverty, stress, and trauma.

The study is documenting mental health need among this neglected population. In addition, it is examining the multi-level factors that influence the decision a young adult (ages 18 to 30) makes to seek mental health services and alternative ways of coping with mental illness that Munson has found in her previous research (e.g., talking to faith leader, using substances, and talking to a non-professional).

Past research has shown that high numbers of youth and young adults who need mental health services do not receive them, and that when teenagers turn 18 they often discontinue mental health and social services. This project will also examine whether use of mental health services is tied to young adult outcomes, such as employment, resilience, future orientation, stress, and life satisfaction.

Munson’s project includes much-needed educational opportunities for social work students interested in working with vulnerable young-adults living in low-resourced urban environments. Munson offers an independent study option where students are integrated into the research, gaining mixed-methods, community-based research skills. A Silver School course will also be developed for master’s and doctoral students on the research, practice, and policy aspects of working with this client base.