Objective: This study was designed to address the need for more detailed information about Indigenous homeless youth, a group overrepresented in the homeless population, using a national-level data set.
Study design: The study used a cross-sectional, self-report survey design.
Methods: Surveys were used to gather demographic, mental health, and quality of life data from a sample of 1103 Canadian youth accessing homeless services with data collected in 2015. This article focused on the 332 Indigenous respondents, using both comparisons with non-Indigenous youth and within-group comparisons across key domains.
Results: These findings suggested greater mental health and addiction challenges among Indigenous homeless youth compared with non-Indigenous respondents as well as evidence of a more problematic role of child protection. Within-group comparisons suggested that female and sexual and gender minority youth are particularly at risk among Indigenous youth with some added child protection and justice implications for reserve-raised youth. Child protection history and street-victimization were particularly relevant to the current distress levels.
Conclusion: Overall, such findings reinforce calls for Indigenous-specific interventions for these populations-including policy-driven prevention initiatives to address the legacy of colonization.
Keywords: Aboriginal; First Nations; Homeless; Indigenous; Marginalized; Youth.
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