A new report by charity Mission Australia has linked homelessness with mental health problems in almost a third of vulnerable young people.
Mission Australia’s survey of thousands of young Australians found 30% of young people with a “probable serious mental health illness” where three-and-a-half times more likely to spend time away from home, SBS reports.
Nearly 60% of respondents with a “probable serious mental health illness” also said their family function was poor.
Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said it was a misconception that all homeless youth were sleeping rough on the streets – with many also couch surfing, sleeping in cars or in temporary accommodation.
"This is what we call the hidden homeless. In fact people who are sleeping rough represent only six per cent of the homeless population,” she said.
Mission Australia’s report recommends early intervention, although Ms Yeomans says that’s easier said than done.
"It needs commitment from all levels of government, it needs an awareness around the risk factors are, and make sure we're funding the programs that are going to help young people avoid entrenched levels of homelessness into the future,” she said.
If you require emergency assistance please reach out to Lifeline, a 24hr counselling service on 13 11 14 or online at www.lifeline.org.au.