It’s sometimes hard to imagine what issues like the ones we’ve mentioned mean for people in reality – especially with a subject as complicated as housing. That’s why we spoke to Kirsty (not her real name) about her experience.
Kirsty was due to be discharged after a lengthy stay in hospital but she didn’t have anywhere to stay. She wasn't offered much help with her housing situation while in hospital and the uncertainty had a negative impact on her mental health. When she asked her local council for help, she felt that her experiences were not taken seriously by housing staff who had little mental health expertise.
“They are interrogating you so extremely that, you know, you can see that they’re testing you to see if you’re lying… They don’t really care about your mental health. They just want to tick their boxes. They probably don’t know that much about it… I did leave there and have a massive panic attack because I was just like, ‘They’re not going to give me anything.’ Thank God, it all went through okay, but yes, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
"Before I’d experienced this whole stress… I wouldn’t have thought that much about the impact of housing. In the past, maybe, four or five months, I’ve realised how much it affects your… because it really affects your identity… So I’m looking forward to just being able to discover me again and create some identity and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my own space, so I think I’ve realised how important it is.”
After frequent moves, including periods of hospitalization, Kirsty felt that moving into stable social accommodation made a big difference to her recovery.
I wake up in the morning, and I’m like, ‘Oh, what is this feeling that I’ve got? Oh, it’s happiness.’ It doesn’t last that long, but it’s, like, so nice to actually wake up in the morning and actually experience feeling good for the first time in years.