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Research Snapshot: Concurrent mental health and substance use problems among street-involved youth

August 22, 2013

A person has concurrent disorders when they have both substance use and mental health problems. People with concurrent disorders are at greater risk of hospitalization, suicidal thinking or behavior, poor treatment outcomes, as well as homelessness.

Previous research has found that homeless youth have high rates of mental health problems and substance use, but those studies didn’t look at these issues together. To better understand these issues, researchers interviewed 150 street-involved youth in Toronto.

Their findings show that one in four street-involved youth had concurrent substance use and mental health problems. Youth with concurrent problems relocated more, and they experienced more abuse and arrests than youth without concurrent problems. They were also almost four times more likely to have been victimized in the previous 12 months.

To get the full story, check out EENet’s new Research Snapshot of the article, “Concurrent Mental Health and Substance Use Problems among Street-Involved Youth,” by Maritt Kirst, Tyler Frederick, and Patricia G. Erickson. The article appeared in the International Journal on Mental Health and Addiction, vol. 9, no. 5 (2011): 543-53. The Snapshot is available on the EENet website.

Research Snapshots are brief, clear language summaries of research, presented in a user-friendly format. To read EENet’s clear language summary of this research, and others, visit

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