Mental Ill Health in Homeless Women: A Review

Alison Duke, Adam Searby

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Research indicates that homeless women are reported to experience more mental health issues than women who are not homeless and are an increasing proportion of the overall homeless population. In addition, homeless women are more likely to have alcohol and/or other drug use disorders. We provide a comprehensive review of the contemporary literature that revealed homeless women experience a range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol and other drug use disorders. Studies in this literature review indicate that some women have pre-existing mental health issues which precipitate homelessness while others develop mental illness because of their homelessness; domestic violence was also recognised as an antecedent to homelessness, although further research is needed in this area. The results of this study indicate that the homeless cohort is a complex one with distinct needs. We provide information that can help refine assessment processes and plan appropriate services to address the mental health needs of homeless women. Finally, recommendations for mental health nursing practice in regard to caring for homeless women are made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-612
Number of pages8
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Cite this