National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Mindfulness Approaches for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Brown, S.M.,
Bender, K.
Year Published: 2018
Book Chapter
Book Title: 
Mental Health and Addiction Interventions for Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Practical Strategies for Front-line Providers
Book Author(s)/Editor(s): 
Kidd, S.
Slesnick, N.
Frederick, T.
Karabanow, J.
Gaetz, S.
Toronto, Canada: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press

This book chapter describes mindfulness as an intervention approach for homeless youth to improve their mental health. Mindfulness involves bringing attention to what is happening within us and around us in moment-to-moment experiences, without labeling experiences as good or bad. It has been found to be an effective approach for improving well-being among adults and there is increasing support for its use in enhancing regulatory capacities among vulnerable youth populations. Pilot studies that examine whether mindfulness intervention is possible in shelter settings and is acceptable to homeless youth generally find that youth will attend mindfulness training and that those who do may experience important benefits. The chapter begins by describing the general objectives and components of mindfulness-based practice. It then discusses how mindfulness-based programs have been implemented with youth experiencing homelessness and what the outcomes have been. The chapter concludes with key strategies for practitioners to consider in their work with youth accessing homeless services. 

Available for download free of charge from the Homeless Hub, a service of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness at