Homelessness in the youth population is associated with elevated rates of mental illness, substance abuse, and suicidality compared to the housed population in the United States (Berdahl, Hoyt, and Whitbeck, 2005; Hodgson, Shelton, Van den Bree, 2014; Hughes et al., 2010). With a survival-focused perspective, exacerbating issues, stigmatization, and transience housing; homeless youth require special consideration to meet their diverse health needs. When barriers impede homeless youth's access to necessary health resources, their health concerns are left untreated and impound until emergency services are required. This review of literature is focused on identifying and synthesizing barriers and facilitators for homeless youth to access and utilize mental health care services. When untreated mental illness reaches a crisis point, it becomes more expensive to treat (Taylor, Stuttaford, and Vostanis, 2006). For youth experiencing homelessness, various factors influence their decisions to wait until a crisis to reach out to emergency services. Within the literature, barriers and facilitators were bracketed into personal, social, and structural factors. These factors ranged from financial concerns, communication with health care providers and between health care service locations, stigmatization, lack of awareness, and administrative requirements. While further research is required, evidence from the literature shows promise in developing and altering interventions and communication to meet homeless youth's mental health and substance abuse needs.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Dever, Kimberly


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date