Housing: the foundation for mental health

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Mercure Sydney

Our first national one-day conference for 2020—Housing: the foundation for mental health was held in partnership with Mind Australia at Mercure Sydney on Wednesday 19 February 2020.


Conference Overview

About the event

Housing is the foundation for mental health.  Stable housing is critical for recovery from mental ill-health and for being able to access appropriate support services. Policy has linear conceptions of how people navigate the housing and mental health systems, yet in reality, people’s experiences are complex and interwoven. Furthermore, the housing and mental health systems are not well integrated and when they do connect, are crisis driven. This means that many fall through the cracks and experience a downward spiral rather than being set on a path to recovery.

This AHURI one-day conference, presented in partnership with Mind Australia, draws on new national data to examine the reciprocal links between the mental health and housing trajectories of individuals. The research offers new evidence on circuit breakers that can interrupt the downward trajectory in which many people find themselves. The official launch of the final report from the AHURI and Mind Australia Trajectories research project underpins the conference.

Who should attend?

This is a national conversation for policy leaders and housing and health professionals including:

  • Federal and state/territory government policy makers from the housing, social policy, health, mental health and human service sectors
  • Social, community and affordable housing providers and frontline workers
  • Health and mental health service providers
  • Peak industry representatives in housing, homelessness, social services, disability, health and mental health sectors
  • Landlords, tenants and tenant organisations across all sectors
  • Individuals with lived experience of mental-ill health


8:00amRegistration open



Dr Michael Fotheringham, Executive Director, AHURI


Keynote address

Mary Delahunty, Head of Impact, HESTA


Beyond linear pathways: mapping mental health and housing trajectories

The official launch and presentation of key findings from the AHURI and Mind Australia Trajectories research project.

Dr Sarah Pollock, Executive Director Research and Advocacy, Mind Australia 
Dr Nicola Brackertz, Manager - Professional Services, AHURI


Morning tea


Trying to help, trying to get help: finding a way through a crisis driven system

This session will explore lived experience and service provider perspectives, including qualitative findings from the Trajectories research.

Elida Meadows, Mental Health Lived Experience Advocate
Greta Baumgartel, Peer Researcher - Research & Advocacy, Mind Australia
Roz Fitzgerald, Allied Health Manager - Adult Mental Health Unit, Canberra Hospital
Annemaree Callander, CEO, Brisbane Youth Service




Circuit breakers: Changing the course, what works to break the circuit

This session will examine practice focussed examples of best practice in linking mental health and housing services.

Panel members
Mark Heeney, National Manager Innovation and Growth - Accommodation Operations, Mind Australia
Ashley Perez, Executive Manager, Children & Homelessness, Anglicare NT
Karyn Walsh, CEO, Micah Projects
David Pruden, Homeless Outreach Mental Health and Housing Service
Alan Broad, Area Manager, Fortitude Valley Housing Service Centre


Afternoon tea


Drawing a new map: where to for policy and solutions?

This session will focus on the state of mental health and housing policy solutions and future opportunities.

Panel members
Dr Gerry Naughtin, Strategic Adviser, Mental Health, Strategic Advisers and Research Division, The National Disability Insurance Agency
Mary O'Hagan, Developer and Director, PeerZone [NZ]
Julie Abramson, Commissioner, Productivity Commission
Peter Jones, Senior Policy Officer, Aboriginal Housing Victoria


Concluding remarks

Dr Michael Fotheringham, Executive Director, AHURI


Conference concludes

4:30-5:00pmNetworking drinks

*This is a draft program and is subject to change.