Mental health and housing must unite to better care for Victorians

Victoria’s mental health system is failing vulnerable people.

Without a stable, safe place to call home, it’s virtually impossible for anyone to recover from a mental illness.

With a Royal Commission into the system currently underway, Launch Housing believes there must be a strong focus on improving how mental health and homelessness services work together.

In Victoria people living with a mental illness and experiencing homelessness are being left behind, often with tragic consequences.

We’ve been speaking to our staff, and the people we work with who have an experience of homelessness and mental illness, to fully understand why a home is so important.

Victoria’s mental health services can be hard to navigate and are often inaccessible for people in a housing crisis.  The mental health and homelessness systems are poorly integrated and not designed to support people with complex needs.

“Hospitals are not a recovery place. People are coming out unwell, and we have nowhere to put them.” – Mirella, Launch Housing Outreach Coordinator.

“People without the right housing and support become invisible.”

– Steve, Launch Housing client.

“Homelessness and mental health are swept under the rug because they’re too difficult to deal with.”

– Akemi, Launch Housing client.

“It’s horrible not having a roof over your head…You feel empty, lonely and isolated.”

– Ariyanna, Launch Housing client.

The Royal Commission must take a person-centred approach and assist those with multiple and complex needs. Housing is central to good mental health and it’s critical to a person’s recovery from an episode of mental ill-health.

The State Government must act to fix Victoria’s broken mental health system. We urgently need the following changes to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable Victorians.

  • More preventive programs to sustain private rental for people after a mental health episode.
  • More permanent supportive housing so people with a mental illness can recover and have a place to call home.
  • We want more step down programs that support a timely transition to housing for people exiting hospital following a mental health episode.

To have your voice heard as part of the Royal Commission process, head to the Commission’s website.

Read our submission to the Royal Commission.