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Mental and Emotional Health Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Youth experiencing homelessness face mental and emotional health challenges from their time unhoused. Empathic care can set them on a path to healing.


of youth experiencing homelessness report challenges with their mental health


of youth experiencing homelessness survived either physical or sexual abuse before becoming unhoused


of the U.S. homeless population suffers from severe mental illness

Providing Critical Support for Youth’s Mental Health

"Suicide is the leading cause of death among homeless youth, with suicide attempt rates ranging from 20-40% of homeless youth."

For many youth, traumatic childhood experiences are a direct cause of their homelessness, including running away from an abusive or neglectful family. A 2011 study found that up to 85% of youth experiencing homelessness survived either physical or sexual abuse before becoming unhoused, and 42% survived both.

Homelessness exacerbates existing trauma, and causes new trauma, meaning people experience worse and worse mental health the longer they remain on the street. This is why it is crucial to help individuals overcome homelessness in their youth, when hope and possibility remain strong.

Addressing homelessness and providing mental health support in young adulthood redirects youth away from chronic homelessness and more severe mental health challenges. Unhoused adults who first experienced homelessness as youth were more likely to be diagnosed with major depression (66.42% vs. 58.64%), bipolar disorder (42.07% vs. 28.24%), and schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder (29.15% vs. 15.74%) when compared to adults who reported adult-onset homelessness

How We Help Young People With Mental Health

Our sites have mental health counseling, licensed clinical social workers, and/or psychiatrists on staff to help young people process trauma and begin their journey to healing.

Help Youth Facing Mental and Emotional Challenges

Your support will ensure that young people experiencing homelessness will receive the support they need to face mental and emotional health challenges.

Know the Issues That Drive Youth Homelessness

Young people experiencing homelessness face numerous challenges and barriers that hinder their journey toward sustainable independence and a hope-filled future.