Explains how your mental health and your housing situation might affect each other. Provides tips on how to cope and where you can get more support.
This page has some practical tips and suggestions for you to consider.
"Both myself and my husband have lost our jobs due to my mental health… We had a reasonable salary and bought a house. However, the mortgage interest support was not enough to cover all our interest payments."
It can feel really hard to ask for help with housing problems, but there are lots of people you can turn to. You could:
"If necessary ask for someone to attend meetings and speak on your behalf, but above all don't give up. I now have a secure home and it was worth all of the effort."
"I got help to move home through [my] GP, Victim Support and the police – [they helped] by writing letters for me. Housing Association [housing is] so much better than [the] council tower block. [I] feel settled and safe... Matter of geography and postcodes often unfortunately."
If you find it very difficult to look after yourself (for example if your mental health problem makes it hard for you to cook, clean your home or pay for utilities), then you may be entitled to get help in your home from your local authority.
If you ask your local authority's social services team for help, they must assess your care and support needs by doing a needs assessment. Social care can be provided in your own home or can include accommodation.
For more information on:
(See our legal pages for more information about your rights in different situations.)
"The council told me they would provide me with housing benefit, but when I moved in it nowhere near covered the amount of rent [...] I have gone through so many appeals for housing as I am experiencing debt and they won't help."
Homelessness and housing problems can trigger mental health problems including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis, self-harm or suicidal feelings. They can also make existing problems worse or make it harder to cope.
To access support and treatment for your mental health, try these options:
"I just need to have a stable life. I just want to be settled.... I'm so tired, all of the moving, and stress... It's draining me."
You might experience physical symptoms such as dizzy spells, losing your hair, feeling exhausted or being sick. These could be signs of mental or physical health problems. It's important to get seen by a doctor so they can check you over and help you access the right kind of treatment.
When Ben found himself homeless, he had to deal with a system that didn’t understand his needs. This is his story.
"My house is full of mould and the stress of trying to get it sorted triggered my anxiety and depression. I have now been signed off work for nearly three months – I have no money and the landlord will not do any repair work… I fear being thrown out but I hate being at home."
If you have a mental health problem and also have problems with drug or alcohol use, you will probably be described as having dual diagnosis (meaning both problems are diagnosed together). This can make finding somewhere suitable to live even more complicated.
For information and sources of support, see our pages on the mental health effects of recreational drugs and alcohol and addiction and dependency. You can also search for local services for drug misuse or alcohol addiction on the NHS Choices website.
It's understandable to worry about what will happen to your home if you have to go into hospital. Making some plans in advance could help.
"I nearly lost my flat because I was in hospital... the cooker and things [were] left on and getting damaged."
You may be entitled to accommodation when you come out of hospital. For example:
"I was offered [accommodation] whilst I was still in hospital… that assurance that I’d have somewhere to move into made a lot of difference."
Housing problems can affect your relationships and leave you without a support network. You might lose touch with people or feel like you don't know where to turn. Even if you do have supportive friends or family in your life, it can be hard to open up about housing problems. But it could be a relief to share your worries.
Here are some options for getting support or making new connections:
See our pages on coping with loneliness for more suggestions and options for support.
Watch Justin talk about how going to his local Mind helped him.
"Unfortunately, the only place we were offered was far from my family and I am a long term sufferer of depression. My condition has deteriorated a huge amount since moving here."
No matter what your housing situation is currently, here are some ideas that might help.
If you're currently caring for anyone else, our pages on how to cope when supporting someone else may also provide more options for support.
"I like living somewhere that I’m looked after, somewhere that I share. I wouldn’t change this. When I’m by myself, I suffer, I get frightened. I need somebody."
This information was published in October 2017. We will revise it in 2019.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.