Homelessness and Mental Health: Psycho-social Factors Relating to Homelessness in Canada

This article discusses Homelessness and Mental Health: Psycho-social Factors Relating to Homelessness in Canada. Homelessness has become an acute social problem in Canada. The homeless population is steadily increasing. There are a number of psychosocial factors and conditions associated with homelessness. Mental illness and addiction issues have bidirectional impact on homelessness.  The definitions of homelessness vary significantly across the world and many countries use the United Nations definition of homelessness. The key definitions of homelessness are given. Housing impacts psychosocial wellbeing. Housing has been discussed as an important social determinant of health. The risk factors for homelessness have been identified. Although accurate statistics on the homeless population are hard to gather homelessness statistics in major Canadian cities are provided. The statistics indicate that family and youth homelessness is on the rise.  The aboriginal people continue to be over represent among the homeless population in Canada. Low income groups, recent immigrants, people with mental health issues and addictions have been identified as vulnerable groups. Homelessness has detrimental impact on physical health. Deterioration of physical health is closely link to the psychosocial wellbeing. Serious mental illnesses found among the homeless people. Major mental health ailments among the homeless population have been discussed. Research indicate that suicide and self-harm are prevailing among the homeless population. Several case studies are presented.   Sometimes homelessness has been viewed as a personal weakness and there are number of myths associated with homeless populations. These misconceptions affect the victims and profound discrimination and stigma imposed on homeless people. Homeless people need long-term psychosocial support. Psychosocial rehabilitation plays an important part in social integration of the homeless people. Effective psycho social support system with supportive housing has to be introduced to help homeless people to rebuild their lives.

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