Depression & Suicide

The daily lives of people experiencing homelessness are stressful, dangerous, traumatic, and often take a toll on their mental health. People can go without many things but going without a safe and comfortable space to live can be catastrophic for one’s general well-being. Homelessness itself can trigger a mental illness or worsen an existing condition, without even considering other factors such as poverty, personal conflicts, death of a loved one, serious medical condition, social isolation and other personal issues. These reoccurring and ongoing negative experiences can have devastating outcomes for those with depression thinking of suicide.

Depression is among the most highly reported mental health condition reported by people experiencing homelessness, particularly among youth. And while certainly not all individuals struggling with depression also struggle with suicidal ideation, repeated exposure to stressful circumstances and immersion in unsafe or dangerous environments is known to take a heavy toll on mental health. There is no single-handed solution to reduce the rates of suicide and depression among those experiencing homelessness, but it is essential to strengthen systems that support youth, families and communities including clinical, outreach and community programs, along with coordinating policies targeting mental health, housing, income, and employment.1

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Canada, India, United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Bangladesh