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Housing and mental health

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.

How is housing linked with mental health?

Housing and mental health are often linked. Poor mental health can make it harder to cope with housing problems, while being homeless or having problems in your home can make your mental health worse.

"I don't think the importance of a safe and stable environment can be overstated. In my own case it has been essential."

What impacts can housing problems have?

Here are some examples of how your mental health and your housing situation might affect each other, and where you can get more information.

Housing emergencies

  • If you're homeless or about to lose your home your local council should provide help and advice. You can find their details on the website.
  • If you need to find emergency accommodation, see Shelter's information for England and Wales.
  • If you're sleeping rough, or worried about someone who is, you can contact Streetlink and ask them for help.

Stress and anxiety

If wherever you're living feels unsafe, uncomfortable or insecure, you might constantly feel stressed, anxious, panicked or depressed.

Relationship problems

Housing problems can put a strain on relationships. For example, feeling angry or stressed can cause arguments or make it hard to discuss what to do. Relationship breakdown, for example with parents or partners, can also result in housing problems.​

For more information on relationship problems see the Relate website.

"I used to own my own home. When I split with my ex-husband he stopped paying the mortgage, causing myself and his own daughter to be homeless."

Sleeping problems

If your sleeping conditions are noisy, crowded, uncomfortable or chaotic you might find it hard to sleep. Stress and worry can also keep you awake.

Not getting enough sleep can affect your mental health.

Loneliness and low self-esteem

Sudden or frequent moves can affect your relationships and self-esteem, and make you feel lonely.

Money problems

Problems with money, housing and mental health often go together. Money problems might mean you're struggling to afford rent, mortgage payments or bills. You might be affected by benefit cuts or the 'bedroom tax'.

Physical health problems

Environmental issues such as damp, mould, and dirt can make you physically unwell. If you don't have access to cooking or washing facilities you might find it hard to eat healthily, exercise and take care of yourself. Experiencing physical illnesses can impact on your mental health.

For information on physical health problems see the NHS Choices website.

Practical difficulties

Having a mental health problem can make it harder to cope with keeping on top of bills and letters, or talking to people like landlords or housing associations.

You might also struggle to clean or maintain your living space, for example if you're experiencing depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or hoarding. This may put your housing situation at risk.

"When I'm depressed I struggle with the upkeep of the house, and I can't keep it clean, and landlords don't like that."

Problems working or studying

Your housing situation might depend on being able to carry on working or studying. If your mental health problem affects your ability to keep up with your job or course, this can cause housing problems.

Not having somewhere suitable and secure to live can also affect your ability to work or study.

More information and support

For advice on many kinds of housing problems, you can contact Citizens Advice, Shelter England, or Shelter Cymru. Our useful contacts page also lists details of many more organisations who may be able to help you. See our page on coping with housing problems for more practical tips and suggestions.

Staying somewhere you feel frightened

If you're living with people who frighten you or threaten to make you homeless, this might be abuse. Our page on abuse has details of where you can turn to for support.

Homeless with PTSD - how drumming helped me through

"After an explosive argument I found myself leaving the house again – but this time, I was homeless."

Mental health at home

Watch Billy, Lucie, Lucy and Miles share their experiences of how their living situations and mental health problems affect each other.

"I've moved many times in my life and each one has been so stressful that it has caused a psychotic episode."

We believe that when you're living with a mental health problem, you need somewhere you can call home. Find out more about Mind's campaigning work on housing and mental health.

This information was published in October 2017.

This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published. 

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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