Housing announcement to bridge gap with mental health

17 November 2020

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Victorian Branch has welcomed the Andrew’s Government’s announcement of the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build to be included in next week’s State Budget 2020-21.

Chair of the RANZCP Victorian Branch, Dr Kerryn Rubin, explained that the announcement was encouraging news for those in the state who will benefit from increased availability of affordable and appropriate housing. 

‘Research, and personal experience, suggests that when people who are experiencing mental illness or distress do not have a safe, secure and stable home to return to, there is little opportunity for them to recover and they are likely to be readmitted to mental health services or face significant challenges to their recovery in the community,’ said Dr Rubin.

‘The decline in available and appropriate social housing stock and services has a traumatising effect on both consumers and those who work in the system. Sadly, on a regular basis we see people being discharged from public mental health inpatient units into homelessness or inadequate housing.’ 

‘We sincerely hope this announcement goes some way to addressing the need for improved access to housing for those experiencing mental ill health.’

The RANZCP Victorian Branch believes that stable, safe and secure housing should be seen as a preventative measure and part of a suite of psychosocial supports necessary for an individual’s mental health and wellbeing. 

‘We all deserve a safe place to call home. Having basic needs met, like appropriate housing, allows individuals to focus on personal recovery and begin to thrive in the community,’ Dr Rubin added.

‘The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the stark reality and impact a lack of affordable and appropriate housing is having on the most vulnerable in our community. 

‘The pandemic threatens not only our physical, but our mental health, and we need to make sure all Victorians have the support they need to maintain their wellbeing, particularly our most vulnerable.’

For all other expert mental health information, visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Sarah Carr on +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit the RANZCP college website.

In Australia: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Lifeline website or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or the Suicide Callback Service website.

In New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or the Lifeline NZ website or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or the Suicide Crisis Helpline.