Children and youth experiencing houselessness have a unique set of mental health needs due to the traumatic experience of houselessness during childhood and the other adverse childhood experiences that often coincide with houselessness (van der Kolk, 2003; Wong et al., 2016). They face immense barriers in access to mental health care due to logistical factors as a result of their housing status and socio-structural factors (Krippel et al., 2020; Gallardo et al., 2020; Bradley et al., 2018). However, existing studies reveal a lack of evidence-based interventions for children and youth experiencing houselessness and a lack of insight from mental health providers for this population (Bassuk et al., 2015). Mental health providers having the best understanding of the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness and the absence of their voices highlights the practice-research gap between providers and researchers. The qualitative research conducted in this project, in the form of interviews with two mental health care workers, demonstrates the importance of fulfilling basic needs and considering broader social context, specifically systemic racism, as the most significant factor in mental health concerns. The primary findings challenge researchers to take a macro level approach regarding how systemic racism plays a role in houselessness and to evaluate the role and impact of research.
Hamilton, Sarah, "Addressing the complexity of mental health care for youth experiencing houselessness" (2023). Psychology Honors Projects. 53.
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