Report shows safe and affordable housing critical for recovery from mental ill-health
February 23, 2020
Safe, secure, appropriate and affordable housing is critical for recovery from mental ill-health and for being able to access appropriate support services, according to a report by Mind Australia and the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
According to the report, the key issues are: decreasing housing affordability, social housing shortages, and a lack of supported housing. The housing, homelessness and mental health policy systems are crisis-driven and are not well integrated, which means that many people struggle to access the supports they need when they need them.
The quantitative analysis showed that poor and deteriorating mental health directly impact housing stability (as measured by forced moves and financial hardship). People who experienced severe psychological distress had an 89 per cent increased likelihood of financial hardship in the following year and a 96 per cent increased likelihood of financial hardship within two years.
People with a diagnosed mental health condition had a 39 per cent increased likelihood of experiencing a forced move within one year. Most people within the general population experienced only relatively short periods of mental ill-health: 66 per cent recovered within a year and 89 per cent recovered within three years.
The analysis showed that mediating factors, such as social support, good general health, and accessing mental health and other health services, can reduce the likelihood of housing instability and shorten the length of time a person experiences mental ill-health. Conversely, an absence of mediating factors and experience of negative life events can amplify the relationship between housing instability and mental ill-health.
People who had deteriorating mental health (to the point where they experienced symptoms of anxiety, depression and mental distress) and who did not access health services were 58 per cent more likely to experience a forced move within the next two years, and were 35 per cent more likely to experience financial hardship within one year. Social support reduced the likelihood that a person would experience deteriorating mental health to the point where a they had symptoms by 33 per cent.