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Adding Insult to Injury: (Mis)Treating Homeless Women in Our Mental Health System

Laura Huey and Rose Ricciardelli
Adding Insult to Injury: (Mis)Treating Homeless Women in Our Mental Health System
ISBN: 978-1-62637-561-1
ISBN: 978-1-62637-566-6
2016/171 pages/LC: 2016003976
Also of interest: Confronting Homelessness: Poverty, Politics, and the Failure of Social Policy by David Wagner with Jennifer Barton Gilman
"Breathtakingly clear is Huey and Ricciardelli's notion that the personal responsibility approach via the medical model to solving a complex structural social problem like homelessness is fundamentally flawed.... Adding Insult to Injury solidifies the idea that the injury of homelessness, unlike other 'diseases,' cannot be solved with medicine alone."—Tauna S. Sisco, Contemporary Sociology

"An important contribution to the ongoing conversation about the often-controversial treatment role of the medical establishment in the lives of homeless adults."—Kevin M. Fitzpatrick, American Journal of Sociology

"Huey and Ricciardelli force us to reconsider the status quo regarding the needs of homeless people in general and women in particular."—Kelley Sittner, Oklahoma State University

"This valuable book fills a sizable gap in the literature on homelessness."—Karen Snedker, Seattle Pacific University


Despite widespread recognition that the majority of homeless women suffer from severe mental and emotional trauma, our healthcare system has essentially left them untreated—other than to mask their symptoms with psychiatric drugs. Why? And what can be done about it? Addressing this issue, Laura Huey and Rose Ricciardelli not only present an integrated analysis of  the ways that the system is failing homeless women, but also propose a sensible alternative to the status quo.


Laura Huey is associate professor of sociology at the University of Western Ontario. She is author of Negotiating Demands: The Politics of Skid Row Policing and Invisible Victims: Homelessness and the Growing Security Gap. Rose Ricciardelli is associate professor of sociology at Memorial University.


  • Homeless Women and Mental Health.
  • Empowered or Powerless?
  • Trauma and Mental Illness.
  • Encountering the Medical Profession.
  • Prescriptions for an "Improved Life."
  • The Issue of Compliance.
  • Changing the Status Quo.
  • Appendix: Research Methods.