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.

Your stories

Homeless with PTSD - how drumming helped me through

Matt blogs about overcoming his past to break the drumming world record for Mind.

Matt
Posted on 10/08/2017

Support not sanctions

Kerry blogs about being too unwell to work and needing support from the welfare system but being let down.

Kerry
Posted on 17/05/2017

Support when you leave hospital

We're calling for everyone leaving hospital after a mental health crisis to be followed up within 48 hours.

Ally Cobb, Mind Senior Policy and Campaigns officer
Posted on 12/04/2017

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 Gov.uk 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.

>See our info on stress
>See our info on anxiety and panic attacks
>See our info on depression

 

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.

>See our info on sleep problems

 

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'.

>See our info on money and mental health
>See our info on benefits

 

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.

>See our info on getting support from social services

Loneliness and low self-esteem

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

>See our info on loneliness
>See our info on self-esteem

 

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.

 

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.

>See our info on workplace wellbeing
>See our info on student wellbeing

 

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.

Read Matt's blog about being made homeless as a result of mental health problems and relationship breakdown, and how he got through it.

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.

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.


This information was published in October 2017 – to be revised in 2019. 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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