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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

The link between mental-ill health and the home

There are many day-to-day issues which can impact on a person's housing situation. One that may be less obvious to the eye is mental ill-health. Mental ill-health can affect almost every aspect of a person’s life, from their education and employment to their physical health and the quality of their relationships.

It can also have a detrimental effect on a person’s living conditions and can threaten their security in the home. The link between housing and health is complex and interwoven. A person's poor mental health can impact on their ability to manage in their home. But, conversely, poor housing conditions can also lead to a negative impact on a person's health. A good example of this is antisocial behaviour. A person who is the victim of antisocial behaviour could see their mental and physical wellbeing decrease as a direct result. But a person allegedly carrying out antisocial acts could be doing so as a result of an underlying problem with their mental health.

Mental ill-health can cause a number of housing specific issues, for example:

  • problems maintaining mortgage and rental payments,
  • inability to cope and manage in their home
  • difficulties maintaining the property to a good standard,
  • difficulties living independently,
  • threatened homelessness and
  • difficulty in finding alternative suitable accommodation.

Levels of mental ill-health

Over recent years mental health issues have been given more public recognition. However, despite the growing acknowledgment of its existence amongst many in the population, there can still be a stigma attached to mental ill-health which can prevent some people from seeking help. Therefore, it is likely that advisers will at some stage come across a client who they feel may have a mental health issue which is impacting on their housing, but who are not receiving medical help.

A number of research exercises have been carried out in Northern Ireland into the prevalence of mental health issues in the population. Worryingly, the figures show mental health to be a much more serious issue in Northern Ireland compared to other parts of the UK:

Housing Rights is delivering an upcoming training course on this topic. We will be looking at:

  • The legislative protections that exist for people with mental ill-health
  • How mental ill-health can impact on a person’s home life
  • The consequences of action being taken against a person for their behaviour
  • Help that is available to people with mental ill-health problems
  •  Alternative housing options.

You can book a place on this course online.  Members are entitled to discounts on the costs of all Housing Rights courses. 

Tagged In

Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies

This article was written on 27 October 2016. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.