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What's housing got to do with mental health?

Where you live can have a huge impact on your mental health – everyone needs safe, stable and suitable housing to stay well. There are issues across the private and social housing sectors which mean not enough people are living in the kind of housing they need. And these issues are more acute for people living with mental health problems.

Are you having issues with your housing? Check out our information page for help.

What's Mind doing about it?

We’re working with local Minds, people with mental health problems and Mind members and campaigners, as well as the public, housing providers and local authorities to get a clear picture of what needs to be done to make sure everyone with a mental health problem has a place to call home. 

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We want to make sure that we’re making a difference by focusing on the pressing issues. That’s why we need to know about your experiences with housing.

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Our report: Brick by brick

We've just published a report: Brick by brick: A review of mental health and housing’. The report explains the different ways that housing issues can impact a person’s mental health, and gives an overview of the research that's been carried out so far. 

What does the report show?

Brick by brick paints a stark picture of the severity of the housing issues facing people with mental health problems: from cold, damp, poor quality homes, unscrupulous landlords, and housing professionals holding outdated stigmatising beliefs about people with mental health problems, to the challenges posed by housing association processes, the prevalence of unfair evictions, and the rising costs of housing across the board. 

Key statistics:

- One in four tenants with mental health problems has serious rent arrears and is at risk of losing their home

- People with a mental health condition are four times more likely to report that poor housing has made their health worse

Brick by brick also tells the stories of people like 'Dan' who felt he had to hide his mental health problems to secure somewhere to live, 'Crystal' who was assessed for priority housing by someone with no understanding of mental health, and 'Amy' who's constantly afraid that benefits changes will mean she loses her home. 

Read Brick by brick.

Behind closed doors: Kirsty’s story

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.

Share your housing story

Have you experienced a housing problem which has caused or worsened your mental health? Would you be happy to tell us about it, like 'David' has?

Your story will help us to understand what we need to ask politicians and decision-makers to do to improve housing for people with mental health problems. 

If you’re happy to share your story you can complete this short form.

This isn’t a form to request help – it’s just a way for us to collect information about the housing problems facing people with mental health problems. If you need advice about your housing, please instead go to our information page.

It has a massive impact on your mental health, where you live. - 'David'

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