This study was designed to provide a representative description of the mental health of youth accessing homelessness services in Canada. It is the most extensive survey in this area to date and is intended to inform the development of mental health and addiction service and policy for this marginalized population.
This study reports mental health-related data from the 2015 "Leaving Home" national youth homelessness survey, which was administered through 57 agencies serving homeless youth in 42 communities across the country. This self-reported, point-in-time survey assessed a broad range of demographic information, pre-homelessness and homelessness variables, and mental health indicators.
Survey data were obtained from 1103 youth accessing Canadian homelessness services in the Nunavut territory and all Canadian provinces except for Prince Edward Island. Forty-two per cent of participants reported 1 or more suicide attempts, 85.4% fell in a high range of psychological distress, and key indicators of risk included an earlier age of the first episode of homelessness, female gender, and identifying as a sexual and/or gender minority (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and 2 spirit [LGBTQ2S]).
This study provides clear and compelling evidence of a need for mental health support for these youth, particularly LGBTQ2S youth and female youth. The mental health concerns observed here, however, must be considered in the light of the tremendous adversity in all social determinants faced by these youth, with population-level interventions best leveraged in prevention and rapid response.
Cites: Lancet. 1998 Aug 29;352(9129):743 PMID 9729028
A number of options for treatment are available to young drug users, but little is known about the youth who actually attempt to access such services. Here we identify characteristics of a cohort of street-involved youth and highlight commonly encountered barriers.
From September 2005 to July 2007, data were collected from the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS), a prospective cohort of 529 drug users aged 14-26 living in Vancouver, Canada. Participants who attempted to access any addiction services in the 6 months prior to enrollment were compared in univariate analyses and multiple logistic regression modeling of socio-demographic and drug-related factors.
Factors positively associated with attempting to access services included Aboriginal ethnicity (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=1.66 [1.05-2.62]), high school education (AOR=1.66 [1.09-2.55]), mental illness (AOR=2.25 [1.50-3.38]), non-injection crack use (AOR=2.93 [1.76-4.89]), and spending >$50 on drugs per day (AOR=2.13 [1.41-3.22]). Among those who experienced difficulty-accessing services, the most commonly identified barrier was excessively long waiting lists. In a subgroup analysis comparing those who tried to access services but were unsuccessful to those who were successful, risk factors positively associated with failure included drug bingeing (odds ratio [OR]=2.86 [1.22-6.76]) and homelessness (OR=3.86 [1.11-13.4]).
In light of accumulating evidence that drug use among street youth is associated with risky health-related behaviors, improving access to treatment and other addiction services should remain an important public health priority.
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Canada has a noteworthy reputation for high quality health care. Nonetheless, street youth are one of our most vulnerable yet underserved populations. Consequently, a medical and dental clinic was created in downtown Ottawa, Ontario to respond to their needs. The purpose of this study is to describe a process evaluation of the clinic during its first year of operation with a focus on program fidelity, dose, reach, and satisfaction. A mixed methods approach was used involving interviews with providers, focus groups with street youth, analysis of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) data, and supplemental information such as document reviews. The evaluation identified areas that were working well along with challenges to program implementation. Areas of concerns and possible solutions were presented to the management team that then helped to plan and make improvements to the clinic. Our evaluation design and working relationship with clinic management promoted the integration of real-time evidence into program improvements.
Although research has examined the impacts of childhood maltreatment among various marginalized populations, few studies have explored the relationship between child abuse and subsequent involvement in sex work among drug-using street-involved youth. In the present study, the relationships between the level of childhood maltreatment and involvement in sex work were examined using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) as part of an extensive interview protocol in an ongoing prospective cohort study of street-involved youth in Vancouver, Canada. Between September 2005 and June 2006, 361 youth were recruited using extensive outreach methods and snowball sampling. The prevalence rates for abuse in the sample were 73% for physical abuse; 32.4% for sexual abuse; 86.8% for emotional abuse; 84.5% for physical neglect; and 93% for emotional neglect. Univariate and logistic regression analyses demonstrated that not only was sexual abuse independently associated with sex work, but emotional abuse was as well. These findings have implications for early intervention efforts aimed at vulnerable, high-risk youth populations as well as intervention strategies for active sex trade workers.
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The present study examined the traumatic events and behavior symptoms of 46 unaccompanied refugee minors waiting for placement in an asylum center in Finland.
Using all the clinical information available information about the refugee children's experiences before and during their flight and after their arrival in Finland was gathered. Children were evaluated with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL).
The refugee children had experienced a number of losses, separations, persecution, and threats. About half of the minors were functioning within clinical or borderline range when evaluated with the CBCL. Young age (
BeLieving In Native Girls (BLING) is a juvenile delinquency and HIV intervention at a residential boarding school for American Indian/Alaska Native adolescent girls ages 12-20 years. In 2010, 115 participants completed baseline surveys to identify risk and protective factors. Initial findings are discussed regarding a variety of topics, including demographics and general characteristics, academic engagement, home neighborhood characteristics and safety, experience with and perceptions of gang involvement, problem-solving skills, self-esteem, depression, sexual experiences and risk-taking behaviors, substance abuse, and dating violence.
The purpose of this study was to develop a national perspective on the sexual activity of street youth in Canada and to determine the correlates of risky sexual behavior according to street youth's link to the street. Five categories of street youth (sex industry workers, heavy drug and/or alcohol users, young offenders, homeless and unemployed) ages 15 to 20 years were recruited in 1988 from 10 Canadian urban centers to participate in a 45-minute structured interview focusing on knowledge and attitudes regarding sexually transmitted diseases (STD)/human immunodeficiency virus, current sexual practices, sexual and STD history, demographic background, alcohol/drug use and relationship with parents and peers. Data from the survey were also compared with findings from more than 15,000 non-street youth adolescents surveyed in the same year with the use of parallel questionnaires. Of 712 street youth surveyed (391 males, mean age 17.3 years; 321 females, mean age 16.8 years), the majority were sexually active (95% males, 93% females) and 22% reported at least one previous STD (16% males, 30% females). The lowest STD rates were in unemployed males (5%) and the highest (68%) in female sex industry workers. STD/human immunodeficiency virus high risk behaviors were frequent with 47% of males and 41% of females having had at least 10 different partners, 73% of males and 75% of females inconsistently using condoms and 22% of males and 24% of females participating in anal intercourse. Even among sex industry workers more than 40% used condoms inconsistently.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Both homelessness and loneliness are pervasive in North America. In this study, the author compared the causes of the loneliness experienced by young homeless youth (n = 113) with that of counterparts in the general population (n = 211) who answered a 30-item yes-no questionnaire. The results identified 5 causes of loneliness: personal inadequacy, developmental deficits, unfulfilling intimate relationships, relocation or significant separations, and social marginality. The results indicated that the causes of loneliness in young homeless youth are significantly different from those of the general population.
Young injecting drug users (IDUs) are at high risk for a number of negative health outcomes such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. However, very little is known about injecting drug-use patterns among this population, particularly with respect to cessation of injection. We sought to identify the factors associated with cessation of injection in a population of young street-based IDUs. A prospective cohort study design was used to assess long-term (> or = 1 year) cessation of drug injection. Data was collected between January 1995 and September 2000 in Montreal, Qu?bec, Canada. Subjects were originally recruited from various street-based outreach programs in Montreal and, for this study, had to have reported injecting drugs within the prior 6 months at baseline or during follow-up and had to have completed at least two semiannual follow-up questionnaires. Cessation incidence rates stratified by duration of injection and adjusted hazard ratios (AdjHRs) were calculated. A Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to identify risk factors independently associated with cessation of drug injection. Of 502 young IDUs, 305 subjects met the inclusion criteria. Cessation of injection for approximately 1 year or more occurred in 119 (39%) of the young IDUs. The incidence of cessation was 32.6/100 person-years but consistently declined as duration of time spent injecting increased. Independent predictors of cessation of injection were currently injecting on a less than monthly or less than weekly basis (HR = 6.4; 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.0-13.6 and HR = 2.4; 95% CI = 1.1-5.3, respectively); currently injecting two or fewer different types of drug (HR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.1-4.0); currently employed (HR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.1-2.7); and having at least one parent born outside of Canada (HR = 1.4; 95% CI = 1.1-1.7). Independent predictors of not ceasing injection were currently attending a needle-exchange program (HR = 0.5; 95% CI = 0.3-0.8); and current homelessness (HR = 0.6; 95% CI = 0.4-1.0). The early sharp decline in cessation of drug injection followed by a consistent decrease in this rate suggest difficulties in breaking the habit later on in the drug injecting career. Intensity of drug use and factors which may help to stabilize the social environment of the young IDU may also influence the ability to stop injecting.
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