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Mental health challenges and strengths of street-involved youth: The need for a multi-determined approach
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The social environments and activities of homeless youth frequently leads to drug abuse and survival sex as well as self-harm behaviours. This study employed a mixed-methods approach to assess the mental health challenges and strengths of street-involved youth. A convenience sample of 70 homeless young people completed a series of standardized questionnaires evaluating mental health symptoms as well as resilience and self-esteem. Two focus groups were also held to capture the perceived mental health needs of street-involved youth. These young people (aged 16-24) were found to have high levels of mental health symptoms compared to other groups of young adults. However, they also exhibited moderately high levels of resilience and self-esteem. Therefore, multi-component mental health programs and interventions that address both strengths and challenges may well help street-involved youth to work towards social re-integration and, ultimately, improved quality of life.
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services