A critical component for people experiencing mental health issues is housing - Mental Health Minister 

At Shelter WA’s recent Mental Health, Housing and Homelessness Forum, held earlier year, the Minister for Mental Health, Roger Cook explained that the State Government recognised the fundamental right of all Western Australians to have a safe, secure home.

For many people with severe mental health, or alcohol and other drug issues, access to safe, secure accommodation also requires the provision of well-coordinated support, he said.

“A critical component, on the pathway to recovery for people experiencing mental health or alcohol and other drug issues, is having stable housing,” Mr Cook said.

“System reform is needed to ensure that this is possible for all Western Australians.

“It is clear that good outcomes for individuals can only be achieved if people are at the centre of service systems.

“The majority of people with mental illness, who are homeless, experience long-term homelessness, and repeated episodes of homelessness.

“Evidence also suggests mental health issues are increased, or exacerbated, by the experience of homelessness.”

Mr Cook also spoke about how young people, leaving care, are particularly vulnerable

“In the absence of emotional support, a place to live, and other material support provided by parents, or supportive friends, young people with a serious mental illness are at a very high risk of homelessness,” Mr Cook said.

Other key points:

  • Research has found that people experiencing a long-term health condition, such a mental illness, are more likely to experience multiple disadvantages, such as low income, difficulties finding and keeping a job, housing stress, and poor health.
  • People with a mental illness, who are homeless, often experience long-term homelessness, cycling between sleeping rough on the street, and movement through transitional housing, substandard accommodation (such as private boarding houses and caravan parks), hospitalisation and, for some, incarceration.
  • It is difficult for mental health services, and the individuals themselves, to address their mental health issues, and move towards recovery, and sustainable participation in the social and economic life of the community, when they are homeless, or living in substandard accommodation.
  • Without access to affordable, safe, and appropriate housing, it is impossible to break the cycle of homelessness, and help people to better manage, reduce, or prevent mental health problems.

To read the full speech go to: FINAL SPEECH - 08072017 - 60-01194 - Shelter WA Mental Health Homlessene....docx 


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