Mental health and housing
Led by Phil forbes - Development Manager for Supported Housing (Mental Health) at BCUHB
For individuals living with mental health issues, applying for, securing, maintaining and living well in their own home can be extremely challenging.
Health inequalities arise where people living with mental health and physical health conditions, social stressors and lifestyle difficulties are unable to maintain their accommodation and wellbeing in the community. They face uncertainty and potential psychological decline as a result of the fear of losing their home.
Evidence and research also shows that people living with psychiatric conditions are at a far greater risk of losing their home than the general population.
This JDT was set up in 2016 as a multi-agency collaboration to challenge and eradicate evictions for those with mental health issues and improve the outcomes for this population, through working well together and planning and thinking differently.
“Given the significant association between suicide and loss of legal rights to a home - the work of this JDT is essential.”
This JDT is made up of local authorities across the region, housing associations Adra, Grwp Cynefin, North Wales Housing, ClwydAlyn, Wales and West and Cartrefi Conwy, Hafal and Mind from the voluntary sector and social services and supported housing providers.
One of the biggest differences we have seen from this way of working as a JDT is the impact of having the freedom to think differently to resolve problems. We learnt about the importance of communicating first to look for every solution before considering a legal process and sharing information while keeping the person in the centre of the process.
Examples of these approaches in practice included a case where we had a tenant with severe and enduring mental health issues, which included night terrors and shouting out. This impacted on their neighbours and led to potential talk of eviction. By taking time to meet with the tenant, their landlord and health professional several times to really understand their challenges and thinking differently about other solutions that could avoid eviction, sound proofing was added to his home while plans were put in place for them to move to a detached property nearby.
Many of the outcomes of our work come from improved knowledge of how we can help, rather than looking at moving first.
Having a just do approach has changed how we work, without looking at formal meetings with terms of reference and having to meet regularly face to face. It a more flexible approach where all agencies are valued equally.