Secure housing vital for success of mental health programs

Launch Housing is disappointed to see no emphasis on the importance of secure housing for good mental health in the interim report recommendations, released by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System today.

Launch Housing Chief Executive Bevan Warner said: “It’s disappointing to see no mention of housing or homelessness in the interim report’s recommendations.

“We understand the Commissioners were bound by the terms of reference in delivering the interim report, however evidence has shown time and time again that unless a person has secure housing, mental health programs will be largely ineffective. People need a stable place to recover in.”

Mental illness contributes to and is exacerbated by the stress and trauma of homelessness. This group often cycle through acute mental healthcare and exit to homelessness, only to return repeatedly to hospital-based care, and sometimes the prison system.

Bevan said the final recommendations due out next year must recognise that housing is fundamental for the recovery and prevention of mental ill-health.

“The final report must include more preventive programs, designed to support a person to sustain a private rental property when they experience a mental health episode, and prevent them from experiencing homelessness,” Bevan said.

“We also need more permanent supportive housing for people who have experienced long term homelessness and may have a range of mental health challenges. This model is proven to help keep people with a mental illness out of the homelessness cycle and provide them with the support they need to recover.

“Lastly, more step-down programs that support timely transition to housing when exiting hospital are vital. Too often people are forced to exit a mental health unit or hospital into homelessness.

“We look forward to engaging with the Commissioners as they continue to work to prepare the final report.”

Read our submission to the Royal Commission.

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.