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Perceived Need and Receipt of Behavioral Health Services at DropIn Centers among Homeless Youth

Objective: Homeless youth are a population in need of housing assistance and case management, as well as services to address behavioral health problems. This study examines youth's perceived need for and receipt of services through dropin centers.

Data Source: Surveys of 273 homeless youth.

Study Design: Crosssectional.

Extraction Methods: Descriptive analyses with bivariate and multivariable regression models.

Principal Findings: About onethird to half of the sample met criteria for behavioral health problems, yet half or less of those meeting criteria reported a need for services targeting the problems. Most youth who perceived a need for services received relevant services through a dropin center, with the exception of care for substance use problems. Youth with behavioral health problems were more likely to perceive a need for services related to housing and case management than those addressing behavioral health problems more directly. Multivariable regression analyses indicated that the factors most strongly associated with perceived need for services were not behavioral health problems, but rather race/ethnicity, traveler status, trouble meeting basic needs, delinquency, abuse/victimization experiences, and trading sex.

Conclusions: Findings can help to develop outreach and intervention efforts to reach homeless youth and help promote the use of behavioral health services.

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