Youth homelessness and mental illness link

Youth homelessness and mental illness link.jpg

Young people with a serious mental illness are more likely to spend short periods away from home "couch surfing", prompting calls for early intervention before they become homeless.

Research by Mission Australia shows mental illness and poor family relationships both increase the risk of homelessness for young people, while homelessness and poor family functioning also increase the risk of serious mental illness.

Young people with a probable serious mental illness are 3.5 times more likely than their peers to have spent time away from home because they felt they could not go back, the report found.

"We know that adolescents who are couch surfing - that is, when they stay for short periods of time on couches, floors or in other insecure housing situations with relatives or friends - are at a greater risk of homelessness later in life," Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said on Thursday.

She said young people who are experiencing mental illness are at increased risk of homelessness, while those who are homeless are at increased risk of mental illness.

"We urgently need more targeted and holistic early intervention services so we can adequately address the issues faced by young people before they become homeless, as well as increased investment in social and affordable housing and supported accommodation models for young people."

© AAP 2017

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