The evidence clearly identifies a complex bi-directional relationship between mental health, housing and homelessness. However, our understanding remains incomplete in how major life events and a person’s circumstances (e.g. mental health status, employment, income, mental health and housing system engagement, support from family and carers) interact and affect their long-term trajectories for housing and mental health and their ability to access the services and supports they require.
Our understanding of the risk and protective factors for people who experience moderate to severe mental ill-health, but who remain housed, remains underdeveloped. Nor are we clear on the factors that enable or prevent people from accessing the services and supports they need and the effectiveness of these services and supports. It is also not clear how the housing and mental health systems interact, what the failure points are and what the opportunities for early intervention are. A lack of research on the role of carers and families and qualitative research from the point of view of people with mental ill-health is a critical knowledge gap.
To address these issues, we need to better understand people’s transitions through the housing and mental health systems including their housing histories and the range of factors that have influenced their aspirations for and choices of housing.