Housing and mental health are often linked. Poor mental health can make it harder to cope with housing problems, while being homeless or having problems in your home can make your mental health worse.
It can feel really hard to ask for help with housing problems, but there are lots of people you can turn to.
Get support and treatment for your health problems
Homelessness and housing problems can trigger mental health problems including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis, self-harm or suicidal feelings. They can also make existing problems worse or make it harder to cope.
To access support and treatment for your mental health, try these options:
- Visit your GP
- Speak to a trusted friend or family member
- Contact Mind to find local support groups or services www.mind.org.uk Call - 0300 123 3393 Text - 86463
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis ring First Response (an NHS service) on 01274 221181
Problems with drugs or alcohol
If you have a mental health problem and also have problems with drug or alcohol use, you will probably be described as having dual diagnosis (meaning both problems are diagnosed together). This can make finding somewhere suitable to live even more complicated.
If your drug use is affecting your mental health, you could see your GP or contact a specialist organization (in Craven this would be North Yorkshire Horizons). They can discuss your drug use and how it is affecting you, explain your options for treatment and refer you to a specialist if necessary. You may feel anxious about discussing your use of recreational drugs with your doctor, but your treatment is likely to be more successful if they have all the information about your drug use. Be honest about how you use drugs. For example, if you have psychotic symptoms, a doctor may be less likely to prescribe antipsychotic medication if they know these may have been caused by a recreational drug.
Managing hospital stays
It's understandable to worry about what will happen to your home if you have to go into hospital. Making some plans in advance could help:
- Benefits: If you're receiving benefits you will need to tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that you're in hospital as this may affect your entitlement.
- Money, bills and debts: You will need to think about how your money is managed while in hospital.
- Children: If you have children who live with you, being admitted to hospital can cause you lots of extra worries.
- Pets: If you have a pet and are going into hospital, your local authority may arrange care for your pet. But you might need to pay for any costs involved.
If you are unwell and have to spend time in hospital, one of your biggest worries might be about what will happen to your home. This is especially the case if you have to go into hospital suddenly, or have been admitted under a section of the Mental Health Act. You might find that the level of support you need to manage your mental health is a significant factor in finding a housing situation that works for you. For example, you might feel you need regular support with shopping, budgeting and/or housework. Speak to hospital staff as soon as possible about your worries - they will probably arrange for social care to visit and talk to you.
Help from North Yorkshire County Council
If you find it very difficult to look after yourself (for example if your mental health problem makes it hard for you to cook, clean your home or pay for utilities), then you may be entitled to get help in your home from your local authority.
The Local Authority has a duty to assess anyone who appears to have care and support needs under the Care Act 2014. Your local authority should:
- Assess your needs and give you advice, whatever your financial circumstances. This assessment should ascertain what type of accommodation is suitable for you, or what adaptations might be necessary to allow you to return to your own home.
- Provide information about services and support options available to you in your area.
- Give you a Carer’s assessment if you are an unpaid/family carer. The assessment by the local authority is important because it will help you work out what your difficulties are and consider what support options, including your housing arrangement, you might have.
Living Well Service
Living Well aims to improve the health, wellbeing and independence of adults. They can support adults who are currently not eligible for on-going social care support and who:
- are lonely and / or socially isolated;
- have had a recent loss of a support network, including bereavement;
- have had a loss of confidence due to a recent change / event; or
- require face-to-face information, advice and guidance.
They help you to access their local community, and support you to find a solution to your health and wellbeing goals. This helps to reduce loneliness and isolation, and to prevent or resolve issues for people, including preventing hospitalisation.
North Yorkshire County Council - 01609 780780 www.northyorks.gov.uk
Build your support network
Housing problems can affect your relationships and leave you without a support network. You might lose touch with people or feel like you don't know where to turn. Even if you do have supportive friends or family in your life, it can be hard to open up about housing problems. But it could be a relief to share your worries.
Here are some options for getting support or making new connections:
- Foundation Housing offer a mental health floating support service which would include help to form a support network.
- Telephone support: There are many helplines you can call to talk to someone. For example, you can call Samaritans any time of day or night for free on 116 123.
- Peer support groups: Can brings together people who've had similar experiences to support each other. This can be a valuable option if you don't feel like you have friends or family to turn to.
Foundation Housing provide supported housing for people with severe and enduring mental health diagnoses. Referrals are only from the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). The aim is to support people to live independently and re-engage in the community. Contact them on 01756 701195
Applying for social housing
If possible, prior to discharge, complete a housing application for social housing via North Yorkshire Home Choice on www.northyorkshirehomechoice.org.uk
Paper applications are also available if online completion is not an option.
If your current accommodation is impacting on your mental health, you can apply for health and wellbeing priority although there is no guarantee that this would be awarded.
The main advantage of private rented accommodation is that you will have a greater degree of choice in terms of location and type of property.
You may also wish to start looking at suitable private renting options on websites such as ‘Right Move’ or ‘Spare Room.’
We may be able to assist you with a Bond or Rent in Advance to access private rented accommodation
Help with Housing Costs
If you are receiving a state benefit or on a low income you can apply for help towards your rent. In Craven this will be through Universal Credit for working age people unless you live in supported housing.
If you are looking to rent a private rented property, the maximum amount of help you can get is set by the Local Housing Allowance (LHA). If you are under 35, you will only be able to get rent to cover you for a room in a shared house. Please see LHA rate on Craven Council’s website https://www.cravendc.gov.uk/benefits-andadvice/local-housing-allowance/
The Mind website and infoline can help you find support and information. They can look for your local Mind, and give details of other local support.
Telephone - 0300 123 3393 www.mind.org.uk
Horton Housing Association.
Horton Housing is a not-for-profit organisation which provides housing, training and support services to the most vulnerable people in society. They work flexibly to engage with people who are homeless, securing short-term accommodation and helping them to move into longer-term settled accommodation. They provide housing-related support for people with multiple or complex needs who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Support available is around tenancies, budgeting, claiming benefits, helping to secure appliances for a home and much more.
North Yorkshire Horizons
A service delivering specialist drug and alcohol support, commissioned by North Yorkshire County Council. The service provides treatment and recovery support to adults with Drug and Alcohol dependency. Their aim is to help as many people as possible to recover from drug and alcohol dependency in North Yorkshire and to reduce the harms caused by drug and alcohol use to both individuals and communities.
Telephone - 01723 330730 www.nyhorizons.org.uk
For homeless information across a range of topics and for legal housing advice, please visit Shelter’s website: