Housing and mental health - what are my options?
Posted Thursday 2 February 2012
We recently published our updated guide to housing and mental health. Chris from our Information team blogs about the importance of stable, affordable and secure housing for good mental health.
I started as Mind’s Information Manager last month and one of the first web pages I looked at is the Mind guide to housing and mental health, recently revised by my colleague Beth.
I come from a background in housing and homelessness and so was pleased that Mind was looking at this issue
The page is aimed primarily at anyone with a mental health problem who has concerns about the security and suitability of their housing, and want to know more about their options.
It starts with what looks like a statement of the obvious but something that needs to be said all the same: housing problems can affect your mental health and mental health problems can affect your housing.
As a tidy diagram shows, housing problems impacting on mental health -and vice versa - include unstable accommodation and potential homelessness, poor quality housing, financial difficulties and problems with neighbours.
On a more positive note, it looks first at what type of accommodation might be best for you and then what is actually available. Although the two don’t always match up, the good news is that there are a lot of different types of support you can get to live in your own home as well as more specialised accommodation that recognises that you’ve got a mental health problem.
As the page recognises: “Rights around housing are complicated.” Perhaps this is something of an understatement but there are people who can make your rights clearer, like Shelter or Citizens Advice. (See the contact information at the bottom of the page.)
One complication, as the booklet explains, is that although people who have mental health problems should in theory qualify for emergency help if they are homeless, “you may have to show how your situation has made you vulnerable”.
The pedant in me would say that it is actually for your local council to ask the right questions but the reality is that a bit of determination - and the support of someone like Shelter or Citizens Advice - can make a big difference.
It certainly is a myth that only families get rehoused. The reality is that councils and housing associations have a lot of housing that just isn’t suitable for people with children.
Like all Mind’s information pages, the housing page lets readers give feedback which can and does change how we do things. Have a look at this one and tell us what you think in the comments below or in the form at the bottom of the page.
Chris Ames, Information Manager
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