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Suicide and homelessness

Adrian Bonner (Centre for Health Service Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NY, UK)
Claire Luscombe (National Monitoring and Evaluation Scheme, The Salvation Army, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 20 November 2009



Suicide behaviour rates vary significantly between countries due to a range of cultural, behavioural and health‐related factors. Gender and age‐related factors also appear to be impor tant key determinants of vulnerability to suicide ideation and suicide completion. The homeless population is par ticularly at risk, due to multiple complex issues that relate to social exclusion, alcohol, drug, mental health and nutritional issues. Studying homeless people is problematic due to access, the transitory nature of their contact with statutary services, problems of self‐repor t and recall in people ‐ some of whom have mental health and cognitive issues. There is an increasing interest from practitioners and academic researchers in spiritual factors that appear to modulate the responses of an individual to the internal and external threats that underlie the motivation to end his or her life. Effective approaches to suicide prevention and crisis management require a good understanding of the interplay between this complex set of biological, psychological and social domains. These will be explored in the final section of this review. This paper, therefore, aims to provide a non‐systematic review of the existing literature published in academic journals and relvant ‘grey literature’ and focuses on themes in the literature that will hopefully inform both policy and practice.



Bonner, A. and Luscombe, C. (2009), "Suicide and homelessness", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 7-19.



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