Adolescence can be a very confusing and tumultuous time for many. When fighting is no longer an option, some may choose flight instead. Those who decide to run away from their homes initially believe they are also escaping their personal problems, but research shows that these teens will only face further psychological and behavioral obstacles without proper guidance or structure in their lives.
The National Runaway Safeline (NRS) compiles and reports statistics each year about various runaway information. In their 2015 Crisis Connection Trend Report, the organization collected data from almost 18,000 crisis call or chat connections and found that:
Multiple studies have delved into the behavioral and mental health issues that motivate a substantial proportion of runaways. Back in 1992, James A. Farrow, M.D., Robert W. Deisher, M.D., and a number of other doctors from differing universities published, “Health and health needs of homeless and runaway youth: A position paper of the Society for Adolescent Medicine,” in the Journal of Adolescent Health. By examining populations of homeless youth in the United States, the researchers found that homelessness directly affected healthy adolescent development. Without schooling or peers to interact with, many miss the chance to develop problem-solving and social skills that can help them secure jobs as adults. Also, a vicious cycle of substance abuse and isolation may begin from their lack of social and behavioral maturity.
This was further supported by a study conducted in the previous year, “Homeless and Runaway Youth Mental Health Issues: No Access to the System.” Researcher Michael R. Kennedy, M.S., of the Larkin Street Youth Center in San Francisco, California obtained data from 169 local homeless and runaway youth and discovered that the highest grade completed by the sample on average was ninth grade, 81 percent used alcohol frequently and 62 percent reported being victims of familial abuse.
The NRS report also detailed that 30 percent of youth crisis calls are from those who have not yet run away, with another 24 percent being those who are contemplating running away. Preventing mental health issues or substance abuse from erupting into an inescapable problem is still possible with Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego, which is a specialized facility that can help adolescents achieve holistic well-being. Call to speak with a professional for you or your teen.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer