the question about homeless youth

Homeless Youth Victimization: Causes & Solution


Homelessness is a social phenomenon that is inherent in mankind throughout its existence. In particular, this notion implies such individuals as the former prisoners, runaway children, the disabled, drug addicts, alcoholics, refugees, etc. The main concern nowadays is the fact that homeless youth is increasingly becoming the majority. Therefore, it is associated with depression, disorder, and other mental problems. Such issues require help from the state and public institutions to stop the "epidemic" of homelessness and help people regain themselves back into society.

The majority of homeless youths deliberately leave their homes because of the intolerable situations and violence they face regularly. Homeless among young people appears due to the fact that they are thrown or kicked out by their parents. The last ones do not have a stable position in life and a particular place of residence, e.g. refugees, foreign workers, etc (Gaetz, 2004). Moreover, the increasing number of homeless children is associated with the exposure of such notions as industrialization, urbanization, and drought, the consequence of which is hunger. Urbanization breaks the traditional structure of a large family in the countryside, leaving mothers and fathers care for children on their own. Hunger destroys villages, kills parents or pushes them into difficult choices in cases where they dont have enough food to feed all the children.

Homeless youth has to face and detect a great range of risks due to their harsh lifestyle. Instead of sleeping in basements, uninhabited buildings, and other places, he or she may come to a refuge. Consequently, such a person can save him- or herself from the cold and bad weather. Adults earn a living by prostitution, petty theft, and participation in criminal activities. Drug and alcohol consumption may lead to a great range of diseases such as tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. The average life expectancy of the homeless youth is usually much shorter compared to the general one in our society. Naturally, the problems with alcohol and drug abuse as well as mental health problems, and increased mortality among them is not surprising. Many homeless individuals require treatment social and psychological rehabilitation, pedagogical correction, restoration (where appropriate and in the interests of the child), family ties or adoption. However, for various reasons, these persons leave social service agencies because of congenital mental disorders leading to psychological instability. Moreover, these psychological problems can be the result of acquired diseases, nervous system weakening, inadequate socialization, or upbringing defects (Bender et al., 2015). However, most often the desire to escape is the response to some factors at home, in school, or within the teenage environment. Children may leave families due to physical, mental, or sexual abuse of the loved ones. The reason for this is next: poverty and insecurity in the family, family quarrels as a result of misunderstandings, problems, or childs feelings (Bender et al., 2015). School can also serve as a home base for individual students mental harassment and an attempt to have a physical effect on the child in order to correct mistakes in education. Teens often have to stay more than a few days on the streets to get money for food, clothing, and accommodation. They are usually forced to engage in drug trafficking, theft, and robbery of stores. A substantial percentage of juveniles involved in prostitution, receiving money for sexual services, or so-called survival sex, just do it for food or lodging. The data show that 75 % of young people living in the streets for a long time have been involved in a crime. At the same time, 50 % of them are engaged in prostitution or survival sex (Gaetz, 2004).

Homeless youths experience a set of frequent psychological problems. They usually have low self-esteem and depressive behavior, show various forms of self-harm, and considered to be at a high risk of suicide. Most studies show that rates of suicides are 20-40 %. At the same time, mortality rates among street youth are 40 times higher than that of teenagers living at home. Suicide is one more serious problem that homeless youth have to face. It is the third leading cause of teen death (after accidents and homicide). The famous study among American teenagers revealed that 19 % of young people seriously think about suicide, and 15 % have planned suicide annually. Children that are younger than 13 years commit suicide rarely. In contrast to this, older adolescents are more likely to have a psychological disorder and a risk factor for suicide. Moreover, the older teens have more mature cognitive skills. Therefore, they plan suicide more effectively and make such decisions based on a set of arguments (Bender et al., 2015).

Homeless youth is a very serious issue that often evokes a set of mental problems an individual has to experience (e.g. depression and mental disorders). This social phenomenon requires rapid actions and help of special social services that should organize short-term shelters. Such refuges provide children with food and lodging, medical care (including psychological help), talk with social workers. The consultants will try to return them to their families, if possible or help organize their life. The shelters also provide a possibility to participate in educational programs: attend and graduate from high school, get long-lasting, permanent place of residence, etc.

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