Research about adults experiencing chronic homelessness shows a relationship with serious mental illness. This brief aims to explore whether this same intersection between prolonged homelessness and serious mental illness exists among youth. Generally we found that not much is known about the relationship between serious mental illness and prolonged youth homelessness. However, this brief concludes that:
- Mental health disorders among youth can increase the risk for homelessness;
- The more time youth spend on the streets, the greater their likelihood of mental health disorders;
- Early interventions for youth with mental health issues may help prevent and address prolonged homelessness among young people.
We conclude that significant additional research is needed on this topic, including the extent to which serious mental illness may help lead to prolonged experiences of homelessness among youth, or vice versa. (Author introduction)