Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Sustainable Collaboration to Support Vulnerable Youth: Mental Health Support Teams in Upper Secondary School

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Abstract:  Schools play a central role in preventing mental health problems from affecting the development and educational opportunities of youth. While school health and social pedagogical support services have expanded in many countries, they are still not considered sufficient in meeting the needs of vulnerable youth. We find particular challenges in the development of sustainable collaboration to support the target group. In this article, we present and analyze empirical data from ongoing trailing research on an interprofessional team focusing on the health and psychosocial conditions of students in various upper secondary schools in Norway. In the article, we discuss what conditions need to be in place for inter-professional collaboration to succeed in the efforts to support students at risk of dropping out of upper secondary school. The article is theoretically influenced by boundary literature and analyzes challenges and opportunities in boundary crossing between different professions and service areas. In the article, we argue for the need to spend time on establishing a reflecting understanding of which qualities the various actors possess and what they should contribute with to create a collaboration that constitutes more than the coordination of what already exists, thereby creating intersecting practices; so-called third spaces.

Keywords:  collaboration; drop out; interprofessional team; mental health; Norway; school; student; support; vulnerable youth



© Cecilie Anvik, Ragnhild Holmen Waldahl. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.