While experiencing homelessness is difficult for anyone, it presents a unique set of difficulties for teens. Homeless teens face more challenges than…
While experiencing homelessness is difficult for anyone, it presents a unique set of difficulties for teens. Homeless teens face more challenges than both housed teens and their adult homeless counterparts. Teens are less likely to be informed and aware of available resources. Many teens under the age of 18 hit a brick wall when it comes to receiving healthcare services if consent from an adult is required. Teens are also still developing psychologically and physically and may be incapable of making the best health decisions. Since homeless teens are exposed to unsafe environments and more violence than housed teens, this may explain the disproportional increase of substance abuse and mental illnesses. And without receiving the proper healthcare, these health issues also go untreated in many cases.
In addition to substance abuse and mental illnesses, homeless teens have a greater risk of having unprotected sex and exposure to STDs and HIV/AIDS. With many of the challenges homeless teens face evolving around healthcare, there is a need to amend State laws to address this problem. Many state laws clump homeless teens and housed teens into the same category “under 18” when it comes to receiving healthcare services. Are you aware of any health clinics in your community that serves the homeless and specifically addresses the needs of homeless teens without requiring consent from an adult?