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Housing and mental health 

Housing and mental health
Housing and mental health

Tom K. J. Craig

, and Jed Boardman

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date: 23 September 2021

There are strong links between housing quality and ill health, in particular infections, chronic diseases, and injuries. Poor-quality housing is associated with mental illness, although the links are complex given the fact that decrepit housing is often also high rise, multiple occupancy, and located in neighbourhoods characterized by vandalism, graffiti, and crime. People suffering from severe conditions such as schizophrenia are particularly sensitive to these stressful environments and many struggle to manage day to day, running into difficulties maintaining their home and keeping up with rent or mortgage payments. Therefore, early approaches emphasized a step-wise approach through progressively more independent settings, from hospital to group home, despite the fact that the majority of people would prefer independent living. Today, such stepped resettlement is being challenged by ‘housing first’ approaches that bypass the traditional rehabilitation model placing people directly into permanent housing with the flexible support they need to maintain it.

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