Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing




Dr. Cheryl Forchuk

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Ray


Individuals with mental illness are overrepresented in the homeless population. However, within this group, the increasingly growing subpopulation of homeless mothers with mental illness face a unique set of challenges. The experiences of homeless mothers with mental illness were examined from the critical perspective of feminist f j intersectionality. The purpose of this study was to unveil experiences of oppression and | resistance in the lives of homeless mothers with mental illness, while learning from them [■ I what is conducive to their health. A qualitative secondary analysis was done using focus 1 group transcripts from a study examining issues related to diversity and homelessness for psychiatric survivors and a study on mental health and housing. A purposive sample of 7 focus groups comprised of 67 participants was used for this study. Findings revealed three overarching themes: (a) discrimination based on intersecting social identities, (b) being stuck: the cycle of oppression, and (c) we 're not giving up: resistance through perseverance. The complexity and contextual influences of mothering while homeless with a mental illness was emphasized in the results. The findings revealed the sociopolitical nature of health in the lives of homeless mothers with mental illness and illuminated the need for increased and ongoing advocacy. Nurses can advocate for the unique needs of this population by increasing awareness of the social injustices these women face and by supporting system-wide policies such as universal screening for abuse, discharge protocols that prevent homelessness, and enforcement of human rights legislation.



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