Young people with a serious mental illness are more likely to spend short periods away from home, prompting calls for early intervention before they become homeless.
Mission Australia’s Youth Mental Health and Homelessness Report found mental illness and poor family relationships increased the risk of homelessness for young people, while homelessness and poor family functioning also increased the risk of serious mental illness.
Young people with a probable serious mental illness were 3.5 times more likely than their peers to have spent time away from home because they felt they could not go back, the report found.
Nearly 60 per cent of people with a probable serious mental illness rated their family function as poor.
The report found homelessness among young people often begins with ‘couch surfing’ at the homes of family or friends, before moving to a youth refuge or living in government housing.
Our Youth Mental Health & Homelessness Report released today shows key concerns for young ppl who couch surf 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/elfSHpODMb pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/GGjXtJByx9
— Mission Australia (@MissionAust) August 3, 2017
It’s a phenomena Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans calls “the hidden homeless.”
“We know that adolescents who are couch surfing – that is, when they stay for short periods of time on couches, floors or in other insecure housing situations with relatives or friends – are at a greater risk of homelessness later in life,” she said.
The charity is calling on all levels of government to commit to halving youth homelessness by 2020.
Our latest report highlights need to invest in supports for young people to prevent risk of entrenched cycles of homelessness @MissionAust 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/Gkq1KIdJnf
— Catherine Yeomans (@cathyeomans) August 2, 2017
“We urgently need more targeted and holistic early intervention services so we can adequately address the issues faced by young people before they become homeless, as well as increased investment in social and affordable housing and supported accommodation models for young people.”
Ms Yeomans said it was important to raise awareness about homelessness.
“We need to make sure we’re funding the programs that are going to help young people avoid entrenched levels of homelessness into the future,” she said.
0:00 Mission Australia calls on all levels of government to commit to halving youth homelessness by 2020 Share Mission Australia calls on all levels of government to commit to halving youth homelessness by 2020
Finding the right path
Twenty-year-old Sydney woman Jane has Asperger’s Syndrome, and was homeless as a teenager.
She didn’t receive the support she needed early on.
“I was living in a youth refuge for about a year. I moved out into this government housing so things were really rough for me,” she said.
Being homeless at 17 “was tough”, she says, and she often felt “low”.
But with the help of Mission Australia’s Creative Youth Initiative, she’s now a budding artist.
The program is aimed at supporting homeless people aged between 16 and 25 develop their creativity through arts and music.
Jane says nurturing her artistic talent has helped her overcome the struggles of homelessness. SBS
For Jane, nurturing her talent has led to a sense of confidence and direction.
“I think the teachers don’t just help me with art but also my social skills. It’s a very friendly environment.”