Our submission to the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Mental Health highlights the critical importance of stable housing in the prevention and early intervention of mental health issues. Safe, secure and appropriate housing is a fundamental prerequisite to engaging in society and directly contributes to overall health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, we know that the absence of good housing can have a detrimental effect on health, particularly mental health.
Drawing from our extensive practice experience and insights from a survey conducted with our internal stakeholders (including our Lived Experience Advisory Group), we strongly recommend that the following four issues are included in the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Mental Health:
- Placing safe, secure and appropriate housing at the centre of prevention and recovery.
- Recognising and privileging the experience, expertise and voice of consumers.
- Enhancing prevention and early intervention approaches and improving pathways to mental health services.
- Prioritising the specific issues of high needs groups in Victoria.
The Royal Commission must be driven by consumers so that their experiences are given voice. As one respondent to our survey stated: “it is essential that their perspective and experiences are placed at the centre of the work of the Commission. This will be the only way to achieve true empowerment and consciousness-raising, and will be the most effective way to identify systemic deficiencies within the mental health sector…”
We urge the Commissioners to look frankly at the current state of the mental health experience for Victorians experiencing homelessness and those precariously housed. Without focusing on the importance of housing and the devastating effects of homelessness, it will not be possible for the Royal Commission to understand the gaps and failings of the current mental health system, nor fully appreciate the lived experiences of people with mental health issues struggling to navigate the current system.
Read Launch Housing’s full submission to Terms of Reference to the Royal Commission into Mental Health.