Any mental health-related treatment should consider women’s past experiences of violence and their increased vulnerability to abuse after becoming ill. Researches have shown women diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, women with coexisting substance use and/or mental illnesses, developmentally disabled women and women in prison are particularly in need of specialized services that are sensitive to issues of violence. The same is applied to many women who identify as Indigenous, immigrants and refugees.
Research shows that women experiencing homelessness between the ages of 18 and 44 are 10 times more likely to die prematurely than other women. To prevent premature death, healthcare for women experiencing homelessness under the age of 45 should include programs to address addictions, HIV infection and mental health care. Effective interventions should also include community outreach (with physicians working on multidisciplinary teams) and respite care programs for people experiencing homelessness who are discharged from hospitals but who still need medical care. Increased affordable housing, including supportive housing for people with mental illnesses, is also necessary.