Ask the Hub – HOMELESSNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH IN CANADA (Infographic)

Ask the Hub – Homelessness and Mental Health in Canada

by Homeless Hub
August 09, 2013

 Image of Homeless Hub This post is part of our Friday “Ask the Hub” blog series. Have a homeless-related question you want answered? E-mail us at thehub@edu.yorku.ca and we will provide a research-based answer.

Dear Homeless Hub

Many times when I come across a person who appears to be homeless, he/she also seems to be mentally ill. In your experience, have you discovered that most homeless people are also dealing with a mental illness of some sort? If so, is one kind of mental illness more prominent than others?

Kerry Barbieri
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Dear Kerry,

Mental illness is often misunderstood in our society, and this is particularly true as it pertains to people who are homeless or street-involved. It can sometimes be challenging to determine how many homeless people have mental health issues and what types or substance use issues because of the lack of research and data. It is also a challenge to determine whether the mental health issue or substance use caused the person to enter homelessness, or whether these issues arose from their experience of being homeless.

In 2007, the Canadian Institute for Health Information published “Mental Health and Homelessness” report that outlined a number of studies on mental health. There was some general information, but they mainly focused on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, substance use and depression. Studies have found that as many as 29% of shelter users have met criteria for one of several mental illnesses including: anti-social personality disorder (along with depression), PTSD or psychotic disorder.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The same report drew attention to research of homeless youth that found 24% of youth met the criteria for PTSD. Additionally, 40% of youth who met the criteria for Substance Use Disorder also met the criteria for PTSD.

Schizophrenia: There are also overlaps with schizophrenia. One study in Toronto of 300 shelter users found 6% had a psychotic disorder (including schizophrenia). Another study with 124 shelter users in Vancouver found that 7 out of 124 shelter users (nearly 6%) had schizophrenia. This is a significant increase when compared to the general population diagnosis rate of 1%. Substance Use – Throughout Canada, the well-being survey found that 1 to 4% of Canadians have suffered from issues with substance dependence. Several studies have looked at substance dependence and homelessness. A study in Toronto found 68% of shelter users reported a diagnosis of dependence sometime in their life. A study in Vancouver found 44% of homeless adults used non-prescription drugs in the past month. A study in Edmonton found 55% of youth had reported using at least one of the following four drugs in the past year: cocaine, heroin, amphetamines or tranquilizers.

Depression: Throughout Canada, 14-17% of women and 7-10% of men have been diagnosed with depression. In a study conducted in Ottawa, 39% of male youth experiencing homelessness reported symptoms of depression, compared with 20% of male youth who are housed. A separate study, also conducted in Ottawa, found 33% of adult males experiencing homelessness reported having difficulties with mental health; 20% had depression.

Homelessness in Canada

Homelessness in Canada INFOGRAPHIC: the homeless hub

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) estimates that between 25 to 50% of homeless people in Canada have mental illness. Out of those with severe mental illness, up to 70% also have difficulty with substance abuse.

MHCC also found that 520,700 people with mental illness are inadequately housed and up to 119,800 people with mental illness are experiencing homeless. Despite these high numbers, there are only 25,000 supportive housing units currently available across Canada.

The interim report (Sept 2012) from the At Home/Chez Soi project administered by MHCC states: “Over 900 individuals from our shelters and on our streets who have not been well served by our current approach are now housed in adequate, affordable and suitable settings. Eighty six percent of participants remain in their first or second unit (as of August 2012). At 12 months those in the Housing First intervention had spent an average of 73% of their time in stable housing. In contrast, those in treatment as usual (TAU) spend only 30% of their time in stable housing. This creates the possibility of better long term health and social functioning outcomes for individuals who have histories of trauma and poor health. Once housed many are beginning to take advantage of the safer places and the opportunities that are created to make better life choices – including pursing opportunities to engage in part or full-time employment.”

As you can see Kerry, it’s hard to get an exact fix on the numbers. What the research does tell us is that there is a strong link between homelessness or insecure housing and mental health issues. Certainly, research has proven that a Housing First approach to solving homelessness – no matter what an individual’s issues are – allows a person to stay housed and to address their other issues over time.

Tanya Gulliver & Isaac Coplan
Homeless Hub

For more information on the relationship between homelessness and mental health visit our Topic – Mental Health.

 

Article source:
Ask the Hub – Homelessness and Mental Health in Canada.

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Breaking the Cycle – Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy – Public Consultations

Breaking the Cycle - Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy

PHOTO: Ministry of Children and Youth Services

When Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy was launched in 2008, it signaled a bold new vision for a fairer society.

In the first three years of the Strategy, the Ontario government has helped raise approximately 47,000 children and their families out of poverty despite a climate of global economic uncertainty.

The government wants to hear from all Ontarians to develop a renewed Poverty Reduction Strategy, including people who have experienced, or are experiencing poverty, experts in the field, the business community, and other levels of government.

We want to hear what matters to you. Your responses will help inform a renewed Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario.

This online survey is part of a broader conversation that is occurring across the province and will remain open until October 2013.

HAVE YOUR SAY BY CLICKING HERE AND COMPLETING THE FORM

PUBLIC MEETING: Poverty Reduction Consultation Hosted by MPP Laura Albanese

Poverty Reduction Consultation

The purpose of the consultation session is to hear the community’s perspective on how we can continue to work together to create jobs, prosperity, and reduce poverty in Ontario through innovation and partnerships.

When Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy was launched in 2008, it signaled a bold new vision for a fairer society.  Now, the government is engaging people across the province as they work to renew the strategy and continue their progress to reduce poverty in Ontario.

Your feedback will be a vital part of this process.

The engagement session will be hosted by Laura and take place on Monday September 30, 2013 at the:

Mt. Dennis Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 31

1050 Weston Rd, Toronto, ON M6N 3S2

http://goo.gl/maps/1lUaX

Registration begins at 6:30 p.m.

 

The consultation will run from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP to Darlene at dferreira@liberal.ola.org and please let us know if you require any accommodation (such as transit fare reimbursement, etc.) to participate.

The government is committed to hearing from as many Ontarians as possible as they work to renew the Poverty Reduction Strategy. If you are unable to attend, you may also provide your input on this important discussion by visiting www.ontario.ca/breakingthecycle.

We hope to see you on Monday September 30th and hear your ideas on how we can work together to break the cycle of poverty and increase opportunities for all Ontarians.

Attachments:

Pdf_icon Poverty Reduction Consultation Invitation

Why Poverty?

Poverty in Canada - TVO Infographic

Poverty in Canada – TVO Infographic

http://ww3.tvo.org/whypoverty/main

Q&A: RAISING THE MINUMUM WAGE

raiseTHEwagehttp://raisetheminimumwage.ca/

2013 Street Needs Assessment

The City of Toronto’s Interim Report on homelessness titled “Street Needs Assessment 2013” estimates there are 5,219 people living on the streets, a 1% increase from 2009. The results are based on more than 2,000 completed surveys, more completed surveys that any previous years, and also the longest SNA survey, at 13 questions, to date.

The survey found more than a third of the outdoor homeless population identified as Aboriginal, up 18% from 2009.

19.3% of homeless youth identified as LGBQT compared with 9.5% identifying as LGBQT among the total homeless population. 15.6% of the outdoor homeless population claimed to have served in the Canadian Forces. Questions about sexual orientation and military service were not asked in previous SNA surveys.

The amount of seniors among the homeless population has more than doubled since 2009 with 10% of the homeless population aged 61 or order. Those aged 51 and older represented 29.1% of the homeless population indicating a trend towards an aging homeless population. Those aged under 21 accounted for 6.5% of the homeless population, down from 8% in 2009.

While there has not been a dramatic change in the overall number of homeless people in the city, the amount of people living outside has gone up by 24% from 2009 to 447 people. 3,970 were estimated to be living out of city-administered shelters. 356 resided at Violence Against Women shelters. 236 were in health and treatment facilities, and 210 were in correctional facilities.

The duration of homelessness depended largely on where they resided, but averaged at about 3 years.

The majority of those surveyed, 93%, said they want permanent housing and 48.7% are on waiting lists for government subsidized houses.

Read the full report HERE.

Partners for Access and Identification (PAID) helps vulnerable people get identification so they can gain access to basic services and find employment. The PAID clinic is at Rexdale Legal every Thursday afternoon. For more details click HERE.