Housing is more than just a roof over your head. How is your indoor environment impacting your mental health?
Having a home is an essential part of living a full life. To be able to stay focused on our families, jobs and health we need a place that is safe, secure and stable to live in. Mind UK published the report “Brick by Brick – A review of mental health and housing” which explores the connection between mental health and housing in further detail.
The report found that there are some indications that housing design can have a preventative effect and reduce the likelihood that residents will experience poor mental health. People living in newer and better-maintained buildings tend to have better mental health and they are also less prone to using health services.
One in three people in the UK live in poor quality housing, and the stress caused by the poor physical condition of a property has a large negative impact on mental health. There is particularly strong evidence for the negative impact of damp and cold. These housing issues can contribute to poor physical health which in turn can negatively impact mental health even further.
The primary causes of poor indoor air quality are condensation and mould, which comes as a result of a damp home. There are many factors which can contribute to this, such as poor insulation, inadequate heating and ventilation as well as the lifestyle of the occupant.
The challenge for the householder is to strike the balance between insulation, heating and ventilation. This can be particularly difficult for those in rented accommodation as the householder isn’t always in charge of these features, which is one of the reasons Mind UK is calling on policy changes to assure that the country has higher quality homes in order to keep its population healthy and safe.
The report states that “having a safe and secure home is an intrinsic part of people’s mental wellbeing and the absence of a place to feel truly at home can have a devastating impact on anyone’s mental health. If you have a mental problem, this impact is often amplified.”
The evidence presented in this report makes it clear that good quality housing is critical to good mental health. Without preventative measures to keep people out of homes that are causing or worsening mental health problems, we’ll only see the issue grow.
To read the full report press here.