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Housing

1 in 5 suffer mental illness due to housing problems

Shocking new study reveals millions suffer mental health problems because of housing woes

Few things in life are as stressful as housing problems, new research has confirmed.

The nation’s mounting housing woes – high rents, poor conditions and threat of eviction – are causing serious mental health problems, according to a new report by Shelter.

One in five adults in England have suffered anxiety, depression and panic attacks due to housing pressures in the last five years.

About 30% of people surveyed by ComRes for the charity said they had experienced housing problems since 2012. The most common mental health problems cited by this group were stress (64%), anxiety (60%), sleep problems (55%).

I’ve seen people with acute anxiety or severe stress because they’re facing the threat of losing their home

Some 48% of people living with housing problems reported depression, and 30% said they were experiencing panic attacks.

Shelter estimates that one million have sought medical help because of housing difficulties, since one on 20 claiming to have visited their GP as a result of such troubles.

London GP Andrew Carr said someone’s housing situation was a big contributor to their mental health. “With evictions on the rise in my area, I’ve seen people with acute anxiety or severe stress because they’re facing the threat of losing their home.”

Shelter legal adviser Liz Clare said:Every day at Shelter we hear from people at breaking point because they can no longer cope with their unstable, unliveable or unaffordable housing.”

“From families in fear of falling further behind on the rent to people dealing with the misery of raising young children in a tiny, mouldy, freezing flat – people can feel completely overwhelmed,” she added.

Clare said anyone struggling to cope with housing pressure should find out what the landlord can do to improve conditions, get help negotiating on rent arrears, or work out rights when facing eviction by contacting Shelter’s housing advisors.

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