Keep mental health top of social housing agenda, says charity

The mental health charity Mind has met with MPs and housing associations to urge them to keep mental health on the housing agenda.

Representatives came together at a parliamentary reception in Westminster this past Tuesday (February 5) for the release of Mind’s new film, Beyond Bricks, which explores how poor social housing can impact people’s mental health.

Attendees at the event included Jackie Doyle-Price MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state for mental health; Terrie Alafat, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH); and John Healey MP, shadow secretary of state for housing.

Mind’s film comes on the back of new research which has revealed that renters are at greater risk of suffering from poor mental health than people who own their own homes.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: ‘With so much focus on Brexit right now, and key policies relating to housing benefits, it’s refreshing to see so many MPs, housing associations and others come together at this event to show that housing and mental health is still a key priority.

‘Two in five people with mental health problems in social housing become more unwell as a result of where they live, so we absolutely cannot let social housing reform be put on the backburner.’

As was revealed by Mind when it spoke with NewStart last September, it is currently calling for the government to collect better data on social housing and mental health, and to place mental health at the heart of its social housing strategy by protecting and improving existing social housing.

According to figures from the Chartered Institute of Housing, social housing numbers across the UK have plummeted by around 160,000 in the last six years.

New research from Understanding Society, a research initiative funded by the Economic Social Research Council, has found that that people living in both the social rented sector and private rented sector are more likely to experience poor mental health than home owners.

The research from a seven-year study of over 40,000 households – the largest longitudinal study of its kind – found that people living in the social rented sector were 4% more likely to experience mental health problems, while those in the private rented sector had a 2% higher risk.

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat said: ‘We know that housing is so much more than bricks and mortar – when we get it right, it can be the foundation for our health, happiness, education and working life.

‘What that means in practice is a decent, safe, affordable home that meets your needs – but for too many people, that is simply not the reality. We’re delighted to support Mind’s Beyond Bricks campaign to make sure that the rights of people with mental health problems are firmly on the housing agenda.’

You can watch Mind’s film Beyond Bricks below.

Chris Ogden
Digital News Reporter


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top