AHURI NEWS

Finding housing reduces use of mental health services

AHURI research reveals being housed leads to reduction in use of mental health services by people who had been homeless

13 October 2016

In Mental Health Week it is fitting to look at the effect appropriate housing has in reducing the mental health impacts on people who were homeless.

Recent AHURI research, based on data from Western Australia, reveals that, in the year after finding housing, there is a 26 per cent reduction in the proportional use of mental health services by people who had previously been homeless and had used a Homelessness Accommodation Support service or had been in a National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) program.

The research examined 3,383 WA Department of Housing tenants, of whom 983 were participants in one of five NPAH programs, while the other 2,400 received housing through priority channels due to homelessness.

Of those in the NPAH programs, 124 were in the health program for those with severe mental health illnesses who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. After being housed for one year, there was a significant 61 per cent reduction in the proportion of this group admitted for psychiatric care and a significant 22 per cent reduction in the proportion of those accessing mental health services.

For other public housing priority tenants there was a 12 per cent reduction in the use of mental health services in the year after being allocated housing.

... in the year after finding housing, there is a 26 per cent reduction in the proportional use of mental health services ...

The new research, ‘What are the health, social and economic benefits of providing public housing and support to formerly homeless people?’ is available to download for free from the AHURI website.