Brain Injury & Homelessness:

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is the number one killer and disabler for Canadians under 40. Common ABI symptoms – memory loss, chronic pain and fatigue, mental health issues, loss of inhibition, communication issues, decreased problem-solving skills and impulsivity – increase a person’s risk of becoming homeless.


  • 45% of homeless men have experienced a brain injury, and 87% of those injuries occurred before the individual became homeless (St Michael’s Hospital).
  • A Toronto Study found that 58% of homeless men and 42% of homeless women in Toronto have a brain injury, and the average age of first brain injury was 17 years old.
  • This population is at risk for experiencing seizures, mental health problems and poorer physical health.


Living with brain injury and being homeless harms a person’s wellbeing, and as such this population is:

  • 5 times more likely to have visited an emergency room in the past year
  • Twice as likely to have been arrested in the previous year
  • Three times as likely to have been victim of a physical assault in the past year

Brain injury and homelessnessBrain injury and homelessness

Brain Injury & Mental Health:

53% of homeless adults with a history of mental illness have a reported history of brain injury (St Michael’s Hospital).

This population is more likely to:

  • Report unmet health care needs
  • Have contact with the criminal justice system
  • Be suicidal or have previously attempted suicide
  • Use emergency departments
  • Finding housing for people with mental illness and head injuries is essential to helping these people more forward with their recovery.

brain injury and mental health

Brain Injury & Domestic Violence

  • 92% of women living in domestic violence shelters reported their partners hit them in the head more than once (Sojourner Centre).
  • There are over 20 million women in the U.S. who have an undiagnosed TBI
  • Brain injury is common in domestic violence victims, but many of these people refuse speak out or ask for help, preventing them from receiving the treatment they need.
  • The ABI Toolkit is a project by the ABI Research Lab understanding the Intersection of Intimate Partner Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury


Stop Domestic Violence

Further Research: ‘The Intersection of Intimate Partner Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury: Findings From an Emergency Summit Addressing System-Level Changes to Better Support Women Survivors’  in J Head Trauma Rehabilitation, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. E20–E29, (c) 2022.

Read it, HERE.