“The property we live on inspires me. We can see a lake from where we are. We’ve got cows, a cat, and chickens. Day to day, they keep me going.”
A home is more than just four walls and a roof. It’s a place where you can feel safe and secure. Your home can also make you feel more connected to your community.
It's becoming more and more difficult for many Australians to find an affordable place to live. Capital city rents have increased at twice the rate of inflation over the past five years. For those who are trying to buy, house prices are increasing exponentially. And there are 205,000 households on the waiting list for public housing.
Paying rent can often push people into financial hardship. Finding a suitable place to live in response to changes in relationships or family size can be a major cause of stress for everyone; 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. Many people end up living somewhere that's unstable or unsuitable. Others may spend many nights ‘couchsurfing’. Some have periods of sleeping in their car and being homeless.
These situations can contribute to a mental health condition 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 better place to live.
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
A survey by SANE found that 94% of people with mental health problems had been homeless or without suitable housing at some time. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that of those who’d reported being homeless at least once, over 50% had experienced mental ill-health in the previous year. This is three times more than those who’d never been homeless. (Source)
Up to three out of four Australian homeless people live with a mental health problem
A major Australian study found that 75% of homeless people in inner Sydney had a mental disorder. A Melbourne study found that 30% of homeless people in that area had mental illness. (Source)
Poor quality housing is a cause of poor mental health
Living in low quality housing with overcrowding, high noise levels, pollution, lack of daylight or inadequate privacy is directly related to mental ill-health. Poor quality housing may cause people to experience anxiety, depression, insomnia, paranoid feelings and social dysfunction. (Source)
Lack of support services makes it harder for people with mental ill-health
A lack of community-based treatment and support services has made it difficult for people with mental ill-health to find the kind of stable and appropriate housing that’s essential for their 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)
Affordable housing has many benefits for wellbeing
Affordable housing has a number of positive effects on people’s physical and mental health. It can free up resources so people can afford better food and health care. It can reduce the emotional stress of worrying about finances. It can give someone a feeling of being in control of their life, and it can help victims of domestic violence to avoid abuse. (Source)
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool (opens in a new tab).