Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Health, Human Services and Public Policy


Collaborative Health of Human Services


Mental illness within the homeless community is a pressing issue, which requires an increase in awareness throughout the community in order for it to be properly addressed. A lack of funding for low-cost or free mental health care, difficulty accessing existing programs by the homeless, and few options for care have contributed to the issue of mental illness and poor mental health among the homeless youth community. This can lead to various severe consequences, such as declining mental state for those within the community, prolonged homelessness, and an increased risk of developing a substance abuse disorder.

The Youth Homeless Response Team of Santa Cruz county works directly with unaccompanied youth between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four that are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Because of the agency’s direct interaction with homeless youth, they have an opportunity to begin addressing this issue, by raising awareness within the homeless youth community, and providing assistance in connecting youth to resources. By providing clients with mental health care kits, attention can be drawn to youth about the importance of their mental health and wellness, as well as mental health services that they may not have been previously aware of.