Migration, Homelessness, and Health: Among Psychiatric Survivors in Northern and Southern Ontario

By Carol Kauppi, Cheryl Forchuk, Phyllis Montgomery, Betty Edwards, Samantha Davie and Abraham Rudnick.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review

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This study explored migration, homelessness, and health among psychiatric survivors in northern and southern Ontario, Canada to identify differences between these two groups and to explore whether cultural background may contribute to such differences. Aspects similar for northern and southern Ontario samples included socio-economic indicators, absolute homelessness, and health. However, cultural background, language, migration, and homelessness risk differed between groups. Cultural background explained some differences observed between groups, such as migration and homelessness risk. Psychiatric survivors in northern Ontario experienced increased migration compared to their southern counterparts. Yet, northern and southern Ontario samples were similar with regard to absolute and at-risk homelessness. More Indigenous people in both samples reported experiencing absolute homelessness within their lifetimes. This finding is consistent with other research suggesting that Indigenous individuals are over-represented in Canadian homeless populations. This study indicates that place plays a vital role in migration and homelessness for psychiatric survivors. The results suggest that context matters for migration, homelessness, and health, and one cannot assume similarities or differences based on place or cultural background alone. Services aimed at reducing migration or homelessness may need to be tailored with cultural considerations in mind.

Keywords: Migration, Homelessness, Mental Health, Psychiatric Survivors

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review, Volume 9, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 479.857KB).

Dr. Carol Kauppi

Professor, School of Social Work, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Cheryl Forchuk

Professor, School of Nursing, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Phyllis Montgomery

Professor, School of Nursing, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Betty Edwards

Executive Director, Can-Voice, London, Ontario, Canada

Samantha Davie

Research Assistant, Lawson Health Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Abraham Rudnick

Medical Director, Mental Health and Substance Use Services, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada