Suicide Prevention Month 2022
Written by GKCCEH
Published September 29, 2022

Making a Difference for Individuals Who Are Experiencing Homelessness and Mental Health Crises

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Individuals who are experiencing homelessness are under daily stresses including the realities of danger and trama that many people never have to face. These factors in addition to seeking shelter have been proven to greatly increase the homeless community’s risk for suicide and mental health crises. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the twelfth leading cause of death in the United States overall and suicide rates have been on the rise for a while. 

Crises and Suicide in the Homeless Community

In comparison to the general population, a 2012 study found suicide rates to be 10 times higher for a homeless cohort, and other research has indicated a higher suicide rate among people experiencing homelessness than the general population.If you’re wondering why this could be true, take a look at the list of risk factors for suicide: 

  • Depression and Mental Illness
  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Family Conflict
  • Isolation and Loneliness
  • Domestic or Sexual Abuse
  • Unemployment
  • Alcohol or Drug Use 
  • Previous Suicide Attempts 
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Each of these listed are either a leading risk factor for experiencing homelessness at some point, a common direct result of experiencing homelessness, or both. 

So, How Can We Make a Difference? 

There is no single-handed solution to reduce the rates of suicide and depression among those experiencing homelessness. Yet, it is essential to strengthen systems that support youth, families and communities including clinical, outreach and community programs, along with coordinating policies targeting mental health, housing, income, and employment.

We can also financially support organizations doing this work in our community.

Speak Up a 501(c)3 was created and formed by three families that suffered a devastating loss due to mental illness ending in suicide. We are united in breaking the silence and reducing stigma surrounding all mental illness and suicide. Our hope is that Speak Up will provide education and awareness in our community bridging the gaps between community, schools and parents. To learn more about Speak Up or donate, visit https://speakup.us/.

Crisis Resources

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.