Investigating the Mental Health Outcomes Among LGBTQ+ Youth Experiencing Homelessness in York Region, Ontario

2SLGBTQ+ youth disproportionately represent the homeless youth population in North America and are at much greater risk than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts to experience homelessness. There is limited research on suburban and rural homelessness. This study reports on a mixed-methods study guided by the Social Ecological Model to understand the mental health and service needs among 2SLGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness across York Region, a suburban and semi-rural region in Ontario, Canada. In-depth one-on-one interviews and surveys were utilized to explore mental health and experiences of homelessness. This study found that youth participants reported an array of mental health difficulties and challenges including depression, suicidality, and substance use. Additionally, the study found that participants experienced family rejection, stigma, discrimination, inadequate services and hidden homelessness, which contributed to their poor mental health. This study reinforces the call for more population-based services and increased mental health support for 2SLGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness in suburban and rural settings.

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Children and Youth Services Review