Chapter Overview

We begin this chapter by presenting two composite scenarios that reflect real-world experiences of homelessness in Canada, as they pertain to the field of Mental Health. As you work through the scenarios, you are encouraged to adopt both an empathic perspective, to consider your own response(s) within the scenarios, and a critical perspective, to think about how the scenarios represent larger issues impacting people in our society.


After considering the real-world scenarios, we will endeavour to answer each question posed in the learning objectives. What is the prevalence of mental health issues for people who experience homelessness? Why is mental illness so high among people experiencing homelessness? What are the treatments that improve mental health, and do they work? Throughout this chapter, we will examine these three questions, using academic literature, featured articles, lived experience representation, multi-media activities, and virtual guest lectures from some of Canada’s leading homelessness researchers.


At the end of the chapter, we will return to the scenarios presented at the beginning and reconsider them in light of what has been learned. Together we will see how a framework of being trauma-informed, person-centred, socially inclusive, and situated within the social determinants of health is critical for understanding homelessness in Canada. These concepts will re-emerge in each chapter throughout this book to demonstrate the complexity and inter-connected nature of these issues.


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Understanding Homelessness in Canada Copyright © 2022 by Kristy Buccieri, James Davy, Cyndi Gilmer, and Nicole Whitmore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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