Psychiatric disorder prevalence among homeless young

Psychiatric disorder prevalence among homeless young

Vulnerable young people have a higher occurrence of psychiatric disorders and there is a vital need for better uptake of long-term treatment services, a Cardiff University study has found.

Led by the School of Psychology, the research examined the prevalence of conditions including substance misuse, eating disorders and among young homeless people. It also investigated the relationship between psychiatric conditions and different types of health service use.

Recruiting participants via Llamau, the youth homelessness charity, the researchers discovered that with experience of homelessness had higher levels of psychiatric disorders, but few were able to access the mental healthcare available, turning instead to GPs and hospital services. Gaps in service provision for young adults were also identified and treatment for the complex needs of individuals was lacking.

"Homeless young people represent one of the most vulnerable and underserved populations in society," said Dr Kate Hodgson of the School of Psychology who led the study.

"The frequency of in this sample of young people with experiences of homelessness was considerably higher than that reported for this age group in the general population. This indicates a high level of need for appropriate mental health services. However, few of the participants were accessing any form of mental healthcare.

"In addition, we also found barriers to access. For example many of the participants were unable to access child and adolescent because they were not in full-time education. Accessing adult services was also difficult because the threshold for a disorder to receive treatment is often higher.

"Many of this group also had two or more problems. Although the symptoms of each individual condition may not meet the criteria for access to a particular service, when a number of low-level conditions are combined, the effect can be very debilitating and may require extensive support. This support is not often provided."

The study "Mental health problems in young people with experiences of homelessness and the relationship with health service use: a follow-up study" is published in the British Medical Journal Evidence-Based Mental Health.

More information: "Mental health problems in young people with experiences of homelessness and the relationship with health service use: a follow-up study." Kate J Hodgson, Katherine H Shelton, Marianne B M van den Bree. Evid Based Mental Health 2014;17:3 76-80 DOI: 10.1136/eb-2014-101810

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Down syndrome teens need support, health assessed

Jul 25, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome experience a range of physical and mental health conditions over and above those commonly reported in children with the condition—and these health problems may significantly ...

Offenders turn to mental health services 

Apr 23, 2014

Adult criminal offenders in Western Australian are eight times more likely than non-offenders to use community-based mental health services in the year before their first sentence, a UWA study has found.

Recommended for you

Brains transform remote threats into anxiety

Nov 21, 2014

Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. An onslaught of news ...

Mental disorders due to permanent stress

Nov 21, 2014

Activated through permanent stress, immune cells will have a damaging effect on and cause changes to the brain. This may result in mental disorders. The effects of permanent stress on the immune system are studied by the ...

Could there be a bright side to depression?

Nov 21, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—A group of researchers studying the roots of depression has developed a test that leads them closer to the idea that depression may actually be an adaptation meant to help people cope with ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.