Developing a Trauma-informed Mental Health Group Intervention for Youth Transitioning Out of Homelessness

Vitopoulos, N.,
Kielburger, L.C.,
Frederick, T.,
Kidd, S.
Book Chapter
Year Published: 2018
Toronto, Canada: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press
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.

This book chapter describes the development and delivery of a mental health group intervention for young people, aged 16-26, who are in their first year of transitioning from homelessness to independent living. This intervention was developed as part of a broader pilot intervention that sought to develop a feasible, integrated set of supports for youth within their first year of transitioning to stable housing. The intervention aimed to provide mental health support to a population of youth who often have difficulty engaging with traditional mental health services, despite experiencing significant changes in daily living, increased social isolation, and ongoing mental health needs, as well as having histories of maltreatment and complex trauma. The intervention development process included a review of current literature in the area of clinical intervention with precariously housed youth, as well as the broader emerging adult intervention literature, to identify promising practices. Key intervention domains and materials were vetted and prioritized using a broad team consultation method. Group session topics across several domains were developed in areas such as dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, practical skills, and mindfulness. Implementation considerations and key considerations for practitioners are provided.

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