.National Homeless Youth Awareness Month

For many of us, November is the month of Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season. November is also National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. The purpose is to raise awareness for unhoused children and families and to educate the public on ways to help end this occurrence. Estimates say 1.3 million children under six experience homelessness in the United States.

Over one-half of these children experience depression and anxiety. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, approximately 550,000 unaccompanied youth and young adults up to age 24 experience a homelessness episode longer than a week. 43% of homeless youth are unsheltered. Many of them have experienced significant trauma before and after being unhoused.

Based on a 2022 study by the National Library of Medicine, suicide is the leading cause of death among unhoused youth. Other studies have shown that more than one-half of homeless youth have experienced suicidal ideation in their lifetime. Another study from the National Health Care for the Homeless said that 40% of homeless teens struggle with depression, which is higher than their housed peers.

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Major depression is a significant risk factor for suicide. Homeless youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than students who live at home. Youth.GOV suggests that providing timely and direct interventions to youth experiencing homelessness is important to protect them from suicidal ideation and other risks from living on the streets.

Also important is providing these young people access to mental health care. Suicide rates are higher among young people with mental health disorders. Many have never been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

If one has friends or loved ones who are homeless, it is necessary to know the warning signs and risk factors associated with suicidal ideation. Knowing this information could be crucial in saving that young person’s life.

The Jason Foundation is dedicated to the prevention of youth suicide through educational awareness programs that equip us with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth. For more information, visit jasonfoundation.com.


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