Housing is good mental healthcare
New campaign calls for mental health and housing systems to unite to better support vulnerable Victorians
Launch Housing has launched a new campaign to highlight the importance of a safe, stable home for people experiencing a mental illness.
To coincide with the Royal Commission into the Victorian Mental Health System, the digital campaign features people with an experience of homelessness and mental illness.
Launch Housing CEO Bevan Warner said housing is good mental healthcare. It’s crucial for the prevention of and recovery from mental ill-health.
“Mental illness contributes to and is exacerbated by the stress and trauma of homelessness, yet in Victoria, more than 500 vulnerable people are discharged from acute mental health care, back into homelessness each year. This is unacceptable,” Bevan said.
“The mental health and homelessness systems are failing people with complex needs. It’s not uncommon for people who are discharged into homelessness, to return repeatedly to hospital-based care, and sometimes the prison system. This is damaging and expensive.
“Vulnerable people are being left behind, often with tragic consequences. Our mental health and housing systems must unite and work better to protect those experiencing mental illness and homelessness.”
Akemi, a Launch Housing tenant who is living with a mental illness, said accessing mental health services while he was experiencing homelessness was virtually impossible.
“The security of my housing situation is critical to my mental health,” Akemi said.
“Homelessness and mental health are swept under the rug, because they’re difficult things to deal with. Access to mental health services while you’re homeless is not existent.”
Launch Housing Client Support Worker Charlie said having a home to recover in is literally life-changing for someone with a mental illness.
“The safety that comes from secure housing gives people the platform they need to think through whatever challenges they may be going through, and what the next steps of their recovery may be,” Charlie said.
“Those people who have been able to access safe, secure, affordable housing quite soon after a period of being unwell, are able to make steps towards their recovery that they might not have been able to previously. They’re able to engage with their support systems, reconnect with family, look at employment options, and work on the things that might have been delayed for many years or months because they’ve been unwell.”
Launch Housing is calling for the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to recommend:
- More preventive programs to sustain private rental when someone has a mental health episode
- More permanent supportive housing so people with a mental illness can recover
- More step-down programs that support timely transition to housing when exiting hospital.
For more about the changes needed for more effective mental health and housing systems, read our submission to the Royal Commission on our website launchhousing.org.au/housing-is-good-mental-healthcare/
Media contact: Shannon Crane, Marketing and Communications Lead, Launch Housing, 0447 964 899 [email protected]
About Launch Housing
Launch Housing is a Melbourne based, secular and independent community agency whose mission is to end homelessness. It provides high quality housing, support, education and employment services to thousands of people across 14 sites in metropolitan Melbourne. www.launchhousing.org.au