Housing insecurity and mental health: An evidence review

This report reviews the evidence into the relationship between housing insecurity and mental health. This project was carried out by the CaCHE team based at the University of Sheffield, in partnership with Mind Cymru. Whilst the evidence-base is international, the report considers this research literature in light of the Welsh context for housing and mental health services.

The evidence review is structured around three dimensions of housing insecurity: financial, spatial, and relational.

The key findings show that:

  • The relationship between housing affordability and mental health is bi-directional – prior mental health predicts current housing outcomes, and housing affordability is associated with current health
  • Comparative research highlights that the UK welfare framework offers some protection for those experiencing unaffordable housing. However, welfare reforms may have a negative impact
  • Financial stressors such as being behind on mortgage payments or experiencing fuel payment difficulties also increase the risk of experiencing mental ill health
  • Evictions and foreclosures have an adverse effect on mental health, but wider insecurity of tenure and the prospect of being asked to move can also hinder people’s ability to feel settled in their home
  • For others, the inability to move and to access other housing options is an important experience
  • Poor mental health is a driver of relational insecurity, placing stresses on relationships, but can also be an outcome of challenging relationships
  • The nature of shared housing may have particular implications for mental health, and access to forms of sharing may be influenced by stigmatisation and lack of awareness of mental health issues

Finally, key learning from the evidence review is set out for different audiences such as UK government, Welsh government, local authorities and housing providers, research environments and Mind Cymru.

This report was published alongside a policy briefing, which highlights the main policy recommendations.

Authors: Dr Jenny Preece and Dr Emma Bimpson

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Date: March 27, 2019 8:30 am

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