How can I help my bipolar son transition into adult hood?

My son will soon be 19 and still lives at home with me…due to his bipolar II and ADD, he didn’t finish high school, couldn’t finish a college class and couldn’t keep a job. Is there any government program that can help him survive on his own? I’m now looking into a supervised facility with treatment, so he can be with others that are going through the same thing, instead of isolating here at home with me.


I have to be honest and admit that even I had to research this question a bit. I distinctly remember being 19. I also remember that when I was 19 I owned the world. Nothing could touch me. I was invincible!!! Then I got pregnant. So to sum it up, I remember 19 being a year of not so awesome decisions and a not so realistic view of adulthood. (Boy did that change!)

However…(don’t you just cringe when you hear those words? or is it just me?) while I did have trouble in school, I was able to graduate. And when it came to work, I was built with a solid work ethic. I lost one job during one of my low lows, but the owner tried to hire me back a year later. So I guess I wasn’t that bad of a worker.

At age 19 I also had yet to be diagnosed properly, so I was only being treated for depression. Luckily that kept things tucked away for the most part, so I was able to function relatively normal. (if there is even such a thing as normal)

I’ve been where your son is now, a few times actually, and I know it gets better. (then worse, then better, then ….well you get it) And I can tell you, there is loads of help out there. Especially after researching it a bit more, I know that with his cooperation and follow-through on a good treatment plan,  he should be more than able to make it on his own.

I’ve compiled a list of links to resources that I think will help you in finding the best way to help your son transition into adulthood and independence. Some states offer Transitional Centers for teens with mental illness/behavioral issues to help them prepare for work and/or college. I also found that your son is still able to get his GED or he may be eligible for an IEP diploma.  He may also qualify for Social Security Income (SSI).

So don’t lose hope. I know things may feel overwhelming right now, but once you find the right meds and treatment program for your son, you’ll be able to breathe again. And remember, he is 19 now, and he is an adult. You can’t feel responsible for every little thing that he does. All you can do is be there for him and try to help him, what he does with that help and support is up to him now. Just know that you are a wonderful mother and just by being concerned and loving him you are helping him in ways that even he doesn’t know!

Here is a list of resources/articles that may help you through this struggle:

Treatment Centers for Troubled Teens

Transitioning from teen to adult (a CABF Article)

Benchmark Transitions

Bipolar and Starting College or Work (a Psych Central Article)

Also, if I may suggest, here are two support groups that I have found very helpful through my journey!

MD Junction – Bipolar Teens

MD Junction – Parents of Bipolar Children

I hope this information was helpful, if you have any more questions please do NOT hesitate to ask! That’s what we are here for!

3 thoughts on “How can I help my bipolar son transition into adult hood?

  1. Pingback:Tweets that mention Ask a Bipolar» Blog Archive » How can I help my bipolar son transition into adult hood? --

  2. Thank you, Marybeth. For taking the time to research for me, and answer my question, and for giving this disorder a voice.

    Being 19 is rough under the best circumstances. Adding any chronic illness to the equation doesn’t make life worse, just different. My boy and I live different lives now. Both of us have been touched by this and yes, we will not only survive, but thrive…thanks to people like you, who “get it”. That is probably one of the biggest hurdles we face besides staying balanced…people don’t always “get it”.

    Peace and hugs to you, my new found friend. I am going to check out every single link and resource you provided. Knowledge is power, right!!


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