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In response to growing concerns about the rising number of runaway and homeless youth (RHY) in the U.S., researchers have sought to improve the scientific understanding of health and mental health needs, as well as the social resources available to these youths. In this paper, we examine the relationship between personal support network resources and the mental health status of a sample of RHY (N = 693) surveyed in metro-Atlanta, Georgia. The results suggest that having more supportive network ties reduces the risk of youth experiencing significant symptoms of a severe mental illness. We also find that older youth and youth who have been homeless for six months or longer have fewer personal support network resources. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings for future research and services for this exceptionally vulnerable population.


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