The Connection Between Homelessness and Mental Health

Assignment 1: Research Questions and Literature Search

By: Rickard Jean-Noel

Applied Social Work Research and Evaluation

2019-1028 SWGS 6803

Research Question 1:

  1. Are those that suffer from a mental illness at a higher risk of becoming homeless?

 

ABSTRACT:

“Homelessness is related to poorer mental health, yet, there is limited understanding of the predictors of mental health of men and women experiencing homelessness. To support service providers in identifying individuals who might be at particular risk of poor mental health, this study investigated the predictors of mental health in 501 single men and women experiencing homelessness in Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa, Canada. Data were obtained via in-person, structured interviews. In order to identify whether predictors differ by gender, multiple linear regressions were conducted separately for men and women. Mental health status was measured by the Mental Component Summary score of the 12-item Short-FormHealth Survey. Better mental health for men and women was associated with the presence of fewer chronic health conditions and a higher level of social support. An older age, not having experienced a recent physical attack, and absence of a mental health diagnosis were related to better mental health for women. The absence of unmet mental health needs within the past 12 months was associated with better mental health for men. The study highlights differences in factors associated with mental health for men and women. Service providers should be aware of the association of these factors with mental health to guide assessment and service planning.”

Reference:

An investigation of predictors of mental health in single men and women experiencing homelessness in three Canadian cities.

By: Cherner, Rebecca A.; Aubry, Tim; Farrell, Susan; Hwang, Stephen W.; To, Matthew J.; Klodawsky, Fran; Hubley, Anita M.; Gadermann, Anne. Journal of Social Distress & the Homeless. May 2018, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p25-33. 9p. DOI: 10.1080/10530789.2018.1441677. , Database: SocINDEX with Full Text

 

Research Question 2:

  1. Is the effects of mental health and homelessness more severe among minority groups such as African Americans and the LGBTQ community?

Abstract:

“LGBTQ youth experience increased risks of homelessness, mental health disorder symptoms, and suicidality. Utilizing data from LGBTQ youth contacting a suicide crisis services organization, this study examined: (a) rates of homelessness among crisis services users, (b) the relationship between disclosure of LGBTQ identity to parents and parental rejection and homelessness, and (c) the relationship between homelessness and mental health disorder outcomes and suicidality. A nationwide sample of LGBTQ youth was recruited for a confidential online survey from an LGBTQ-focused crisis services hotline. Overall, nearly one-third of youth contacting the crisis services hotline had experienced lifetime homelessness, and those who had disclosed their LGBTQ identity to parents or experienced parental rejection because of LGBTQ status experienced higher rates of homelessness. Youth with homelessness experiences reported more symptoms of several mental health disorders and higher rates of suicidality. Suggestions for service providers are discussed.”

 

Reference:

Homelessness, Mental Health and Suicidality Among LGBTQ Youth Accessing Crisis Services

By: Rhoades, Harmony; Rusow, Joshua A.; Bond, David; Lanteigne, Amy; Fulginiti, Anthony; Goldbach, Jeremy T. In: Child Psychiatry & Human Development. 49(4):643-651; Springer US Language: English, Database: Springer Nature Journals

Abstract:

The effects of microaggressions targeted at sexual minorities and racial minorities have been well documented. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youths and black youths are more likely to experience homelessness than their heterosexual, cisgender, and white peers, and yet little is known about how microaggressions may affect youths during instances of homelessness. This study examines whether perceived LGBT racial microaggressions and perceived racial microaggressions are associated with depressive symptoms and suicidality in a sample of black youths experiencing homelessness. This study uses a cross-sectional design with structured face-to-face interviews of a convenience sample of 89 black youths (ages 16to 24 years) experiencing homelessness. Results show that whereas both types of perceived microaggressions are positively associated with depressive symptoms, neither form of microaggression is independently associated with suicidality. Depressive symptoms and suicidality are common experiences among black youths dealing with homelessness, and the perception of microaggressions targeted at sexual or racial minority statuses is associated with depressive symptomatology. Results underscore the importance of social workers comprehensively addressing how subtle, pervasive forms of heterosexism, gender normativity, and racism affect mental health outcomes among homeless youths.

 

Reference:

Perceived microaggressions and mental health in a sample of black youths experiencing homelessness.

By: Gattis, M.N.; Larson, A. Social Work Research, Vol. 41 (1) 2017 p7-17, 11p., Database: Social Work Abstracts

 

Research Question 3:

Does the mental health problems of children or young adults later becoming bigger issues as they grow older, such as homelessness?

Abstract:

“Previous research indicates a positive link between youth runaway episodes and the likelihood of homelessness in later adolescence and early adulthood. An adolescent’s decision to run away from home often accompanies depressive symptomology compared with stably housed youth.The present study used a large, nationally representative sample of 8,560 youth to identify links among runaway behavior, changes in depressive symptomology during the transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood, and homelessness. Results suggest that running away during adolescence is linked with later homelessness across depressive symptom classes. In fact, even a single runaway episode as a teenager tripled the odds of reporting homelessness by young adulthood. However, the magnitude of the association varies based on depressive symptom trajectories. Adolescents reporting high levels of depressive symptomology that increased over time were 6 times more likely to experience homelessness, compared with youth with consistently low depressive symptoms. Interestingly, among participants who reported never running away, this same high/increasing depressive symptoms group were less likely to report homelessness than were peers with consistently low depressive symptoms. These findings point to a potential resiliency process among youth in this category that needs to be further explored to identify differences in youth with poor mental health who leave home versus those who remain stably housed. Public Policy Relevance StatementYouth with heightened depressive symptomology that was unattenuated over time and who ran away from home as a teenager were more likely to report homelessness than were youth with better mental health and those without histories of runaway behavior. Professionals working with adolescents and the policies that support their work should simultaneously address both the mental well-being and home lives of vulnerable youth, particularly as running away (in the context of poor mental health) significantly shapes their pathway through the “revolving door” of displacement.

 

Reference:

Running away during adolescence and future homelessness: The amplifying role of mental health.

Williams, Amanda; Giano, Zachary; Merten, Michael; American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol 89(2), 2019 pp. 268-278. Publisher: Educational Publishing Foundation; [Journal Article], Database: PsycARTICLES

 

Research Question 4:

Are future generations being affected as a result of mental health and homelessness that members of their family went through?

Abstract:

“Little is known about the experiences of mothers who become homeless. The numbers of women with children in this situation are growing, most becoming homeless following domestic or neighbor abuse, or the breakdown of family relationships. This qualitative study aimed to describe mothers’ experiences of homelessness in relation to their mental health, support and social care needs. Twenty-eight homeless women with dependent children residing in hostels were interviewed. The experience of homelessness was stressful but viewed as a respite for many of the participants because they had experienced violence and harassment prior to their stay in the hostels. Many described poor mental health, which they related to the conditions in hostels and traumas that they had experienced before becoming homeless. Their experiences and perceptions of the services available were mixed. Some valued the support offered by staff and other residents, but the majority felt that there was a lack of resources to address their needs. Many women had difficulty coping with homelessness, and several said that support from other homeless women was an important source of help. Services need to work together to meet the multiple health, social, psychological and housing needs of these women.”

 

Reference:

Mothers experiencing homelessness: Mental health, support and social care needs.

Tischler, Victoria; Rademeyer, Alison; Vostanis, Panos; Health& Social Care in the Community, Vol 15(3), May, 2007 pp. 246-253. Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; [Journal Article], Database: PsycINFO

Commentary:

The main similarity in our findings was that it is confirmed that homelessness is related to poor mental health. Whether it be a single man, a single woman, a troubled youth, a minority, or an individual in the LGBTQ community, once there is the presence of mental illness, the risk of homelessness is significantly increased. Every article was able to give us a point of view of the very different backgrounds and how homelessness and mental health are connected and how they trigger each other. Someone can suffer from a mental illness and become homeless, and someone can become homeless and later develop a mental illness as well. I liked how every article had their own direction yet proved the same point. An example of this would be the Running away during adolescence and future homelessness: The amplifying role of mental health”article in which it spoke on homelessness amongst runaway youths. It went on to say that majority of the runaway youth suffered from depression and the majority grew up to be homeless later on in life.

The answer that remains unclear that is a constant theme in all of the articles is the question of “how are we going to handle this better going forward”. The data and the research have confirmed that we have this issue and now we are faced with the question of how we are going to fix it in the future. The article  Homelessness, Mental Health and Suicidality Among LGBTQ Youth Accessing Crisis Services  talks about the suicide rate among the LGBTQ community due to parent rejection and homelessness. This is a serious issue that must be addressed properly because it is literally a life and death issue.

Another one of the points that shocked me was in the article “Mothers experiencing homelessness: Mental health, support and social care needs”  that spoke on the traumas and stress that these mothers were under. This was caused by them being pregnant and homeless, as well as passed events they went through. This trauma and experience will unfortunately be also passed down to the child.

From completing this exercise, I learned that if you use the literature searches correctly, you will be able to find articles that state what it is you are trying to say and provides solid answers to your questions. This is good when developing a research paper.

 

References:

  1. An investigation of predictors of mental health in single men and women experiencing homelessness in three Canadian cities.

By: Cherner, Rebecca A.; Aubry, Tim; Farrell, Susan; Hwang, Stephen W.; To, Matthew J.; Klodawsky, Fran; Hubley, Anita M.; Gadermann, Anne. Journal of Social Distress & the Homeless. May2018, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p25-33. 9p. DOI: 10.1080/10530789.2018.1441677. , Database: SocINDEX with Full Text

  1. Homelessness, Mental Health and Suicidality Among LGBTQ Youth Accessing Crisis Services

By: Rhoades, Harmony; Rusow, Joshua A.; Bond, David; Lanteigne, Amy; Fulginiti, Anthony; Goldbach, Jeremy T. In: Child Psychiatry & Human Development. 49(4):643-651; Springer US Language: English, Database: Springer Nature Journals. Published online: 10 January 2018 © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

  1. Perceived microaggressions and mental health in a sample of black youths experiencing homelessness.

By: Gattis, M.N.; Larson, A. Social Work Research, Vol. 41 (1) 2017 p7-17, 11p., Database: Social Work Abstracts

  1. Running away during adolescence and future homelessness: The amplifying role of mental health.

Williams, Amanda; Giano, Zachary; Merten, Michael; American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol 89(2), 2019 pp. 268-278. Publisher: Educational Publishing Foundation; [Journal Article], Database: PsycARTICLES

  1. Mothers experiencing homelessness: Mental health, support and social care needs.

Tischler, Victoria; Rademeyer, Alison; Vostanis, Panos; Health& Social Care in the Community, Vol 15(3), May, 2007 pp. 246-253. Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; [Journal Article], Database: PsycINFO

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