Homeless Teens At High Risk Of Death

14 April 2016 Written by 

Substance Abuse And Suicide Main Causes Of Death For Homeless Youth

From Medical News Today: Street-based study shows suicide, substance abuse main cause of mortality among homeless youth.

A University of California, Berkeley, study of homeless youth living on the streets of San Francisco found that they have a 10 times higher mortality rate than their peers, mostly due to suicide and substance abuse.

"This population is highly stigmatized. That stigma leads to neglect and, in turn, to increased mortality. All the deaths in this cohort were preventable," said the study's main author, Colette Auerswald, a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist who is an associate professor of public health at UC Berkeley. "Stigma kills."

The study appears online April 14 in the open-access journal PeerJ. Auerswald, co-founder of I4Y, the UC Berkeley School of Public Health's center for adolescent population health, co-authored the study with Jessica Lin of UC Berkeley's School of Public Health and Andrea Parriott of UCSF's Phillip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies.

"These sobering data provide evidence of what homeless youth face when their only option is life on the streets," added Sherilyn Adams, executive director of Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. "We must not ignore or underestimate the gravity of homelessness or its tragic impact on young lives cut short. No young person deserves to die a preventable death because they didn't get the help they needed."

Read more: San Franciscos homeless youth at 10 times higher risk of death

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