Copyright © 2020 Community Living Well

Housing and mental health

Woman stressed looking at bills

Housing and mental health problems are often linked. Poor mental health can make coping with housing problems more challenging. Homelessness or housing issues can cause a deterioration in your mental health.

What impacts can housing have on mental health?

Your relationship: Struggling with your rent payments or living conditions can cause arguments and place a strain on your relationship.

Sleep: Stress, worry and noise may keep you awake at night and disturb your sleeping pattern.

Your social life: Living in an unsecure environment can negatively affect your self-esteem and cause you to withdraw from social situations. Decreased levels of interaction can produce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

On your career: Your housing situation might depend on you being able to carry on working. If your mental health is affecting your ability to keep up your job, this can cause housing problems.

Physical Health: If you live somewhere that is damp, mouldy or dirty, it can affect your air quality and you risk developing respiratory problems. Additionally, if your housing has inadequate facilities, this can impact how you look after yourself i.e. personal hygiene and maintaining a balanced diet.

Practical difficulties: Having a mental health problem can make it harder to:

  • Keep on top of bills and rent
  • Talk to landlords or people from housing associations.

Stress and anxiety: Feeling unsafe or living in a dangerous environment can generate feelings of stress and worry which may increase any anxiety you may be experiencing.

Our Navigators meet people who are struggling with complex housing issues regularly. While every case is different and has its own unique set of factors, our Navigators use their expert knowledge of local services to tailor their support to your individual needs.

Sarah’s story

Sarah was struggling with rent arrears after moving out due to over-crowding issues. Physically, emotionally and financially, Sarah found it impossible to resolve this issue alone. A consequent cut in her benefits coupled with a lack of support from her landlord caused a severe decline in her mental health.

Sarah met with our Navigator, Maeve, and they developed a Wellbeing plan together that focussed on building Sarah a support network. Maeve accompanied Sarah to meetings with her landlord and spoke on her behalf to several agencies that provide specialist advice.

After this additional support, Maeve and Sarah began to talk about ‘endings’. It is natural to feel apprehensive about support coming to an end. Our Navigators will help build your confidence by equipping you with information on your rights and entitlements and make sure you possess all the tools and resources necessary to feel able to access services without their support.

In this case, Sarah was notified of:

  • Her local Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s drop-in times
  • Benefits support offered by the Department of Work and Pensions and
  • Other wellbeing services such as Peer Support that could address her social needs.

Experiencing some of the issues mentioned here?

Navigators offer practical support with a range of issues and support you to access specialist advice, information and other services. Refer to the service on our website.

This story was originally published in the Spring 2019 Community Living Well magazine. It has been edited for website purposes. Subscribe today to receive mental health and wellbeing tips straight to your inbox, four times a year!

Refer to the Community Living Well service here.

Author: Michelle Jackson
Posted on: 13th August 2020

SMART St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training