Mental health problems 'common' among homeless youths
The rate of mental health problems among young homeless people is worryingly high, experts have found.
Researchers at the University of Cardiff interviewed 121 homeless people, aged 16 to 24 years, who were being housed in temporary accommodation.
Participants were also given psychiatric assessments which revealed that 93 per cent had a lifetime psychiatric disorder such as depression (43 per cent), post-traumatic stress disorder (35.5 per cent) or psychosis (21.5 per cent).
Among housed young people, the corresponding rates are just 2.2 per cent for depression, 4.7 per cent for post-traumatic stress disorder and 0.2 per cent for psychosis.
More worrying still was the finding that 80 per cent of the study group met the criteria for two or more mental health conditions.
The findings were presented yesterday (September 6th) at a British Psychological Society conference by Kate Hodgson, who said: ‘Young people with recent experiences of homelessness appear to be particularly vulnerable to psychiatric disorder.
‘Identifying these differences among young people with experiences of homelessness should help a more targeted delivery of support services and shorten periods of stay in temporary accommodation.’
As many as 80,000 young people experience homelessness each year in the UK, according to figures from homelessness charity Centrepoint.
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