Between December 2015 and May 2017, thirteen (n=13) undergraduate and graduate pre-service youth work students participated in learning experiences (i.e., workshops, coursework, community visits, lived experience engagements) designed to enhance literacies in mental health. The aim of the research was to explicate the process of mental health literacy enhancement and application to youth work practice using grounded theory methodology. Sixty unique sources of data were used in analyses, including individual interviews, written reflections, researcher observations, pre/post-quizzes, and artifacts created by participants. The core category, Struggling to Become, explicated how emerging youth work practitioners' mental health literacies were intertwined with a developing professional identity in the context of mental health care. The focus of this presentation is on the sub-category de/valuing youth work,in which the meaning and mattering of youth work to emerging practitioners intersected with familial and social relations, and relations with professionals from other disciplines. Examples of analytical processes using grounded theory methods will be offered.
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