Conference paper
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Purpose: This paper set out to uncover the advice available to help people take effective action within our home to improve mental health. The literature and professions are virtually silent on the issue. The professional advice is often the opposite suggesting we should get out of our homes - go for a walk, exercise, play sport, go to the cinema, meet friends, socialise and don’t isolate yourself. There is nary any advice about what we can do to our homes to help maintain our mental health. Our home - the physical space where we spend large amounts of energy and time is largely an empty shell for the mental health industry. The message currently presented appears to be "remember to close the door as you leave … to get better". Safe and secure housing is a fundamental pillar of an inclusive and productive society. Yet we don't know for sure what safe, secure, or good housing looks like.

Approach: This paper will begin that dialogue with a comprehensive literature review. The approach adopted to investigate this literature focussed on thinking about what a policy official might experience if they were tasked to develop guidance on steps to improve housings’ impact on mental health. Such an individual would not necessarily be aware of the extent of the literature, or of academic disciplines. This approach both made the literature review problematic, but also in some ways also produces a useful insight.

Key findings: The paper concludes that there are three issues that should shape future research: first is the need for transdisciplinary translational research; second is to focus initially on the needs of the resident before the bricks and mortar; third is to endeavour to include the social pillar of sustainable development alongside the economic and environmental. Originality: This paper is original as it seeks to start a conversation about what self-help measures people can adopt within their homes to protect or enhance their mental wellbeing

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