“The property we live on inspires me. We can see a lake from where we are. We’ve got cows, a cat and we’ve got chickens. Day to day, they keep me going.” – Wendy
A home is more than just four walls and a roof. It’s a place where you can feel safe and secure. It can also help to enhance a person’s connections to their community.
The issue of finding an affordable place to live is affecting more and more Australians. Capital city rents have increased at twice the rate of inflation over the past 5 years and house prices, for those who are trying to buy, are increasing exponentially. The waiting list for public housing has 205,000 households on it.
Paying rent can often push people into financial hardship and finding a suitable place to live in response to changes in relationships or family size, can be a major stressor for everyone, but especially those with mental ill-health.
It’s no wonder that for many people who live with mental illness, finding or maintaining a stable home isn’t always easy and many people end up living somewhere that’s unstable or unsuitable. Others spend many nights ‘couchsurfing’. Some have periods of sleeping in their car and being homeless.
These situations can contribute to a mental illness or make an existing one harder to manage. Not having a fixed address can also make access to good health care more difficult.
A lack of housing options can make you reluctant to leave an unsafe situation, and this can have a negative effect on your mental wellbeing.
If you’re concerned about the suitability, safety or security of your current housing arrangement, help is available to enable you to work through the issues and find a place that’s better for you.
Take a look at our pages on neighbourhoods, and feeling safe, stable, and secure.
A closer look
Most people with mental health issues have had housing problems at some time
Up to three out of four Australian homeless people live with a mental health problem
Poor quality housing is a cause of poor mental health
Lack of support services makes it harder for people with mental ill-health
An episode of mental illness can put a person at risk of losing their home. Mental illness can lead to time in hospital which can put people at risk of losing stable housing. (Source)