Housing and mental health
What's the relationship between housing and mental health?
Having a home which is safe and affordable is generally considered to be a basic need. Stable surroundings help to maintain health and wellbeing. Poor housing or homelessness can contribute to the development of mental health problems or can make existing mental health problems more difficult to manage.
What might affect my housing situation?
Many factors can affect your housing situation, but some things are more likely to make your situation stressful or less secure.
Admission to hospital
If you are unwell and have to spend time in hospital, then one of your biggest worries might be about what will happen to your home. This is especially so if you have to go into hospital suddenly, or have been admitted under a section of the Mental Health Act – you will not have had a chance to prepare for your home to be looked after. This is particularly difficult if you live alone, or in rented or temporary accommodation.
If you are receiving benefits, then spending over four weeks in hospital can mean that they are reduced or stopped. Contact Citizens advice for more information about benefits.
Most people spend more money on housing than anything else. As well as rent or mortgage payments there are also bills, repairs and furnishings to think about. The amount you can afford to spend on housing normally defines the area you live in and the type of home you have. If a mental health problem has an impact on your income (for example if you are unable to work full-time) or how you spend money (for example if you have a history of overspending during manic episodes) then where you live is likely to be affected.
A mental health crisis
To maintain your home you need to be able to pay bills regularly, live alongside your neighbours and keep your house clean. If your mental health has deteriorated and you are in crisis, then you might not be able to look after yourself or your home.
Neighbours, friends and families
The people who you see every day can have a huge impact on your home life. If you live with or near family and friends this can provide support, but relationship problems can also cause stress and strain that can worsen mental health problems. You may also find that you face stigma and discrimination from some neighbours, which can make your home feel unsafe.