Every day, 150 families across Britain are made homeless, and research by the charity Shelter found that of those who had experienced housing worries in the past five years, 69 per cent had experienced mental health issues.
Interviews with 1,050 people from across England revealed the most common problems to be stress, anxiety, sleep problems, depression and panic attacks, with one in 20 people making visits to their GP because of mental health worries.
‘Housing is a major contributing factor to mental illness,’ said London GP Andrew Carr in an article on the BBC News website. ‘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.’
If these figures applied to the whole of England’s population, one million people would have sought medical help due to mental health issues caused by housing or eviction worries, found Shelter.
One in six of those interviewed also said their physical health had been affected, reporting symptoms including dizzy spells, headaches, nausea and hair loss.
‘We hear from people at breaking point because they can no longer cope with their unstable, unlivable or unaffordable housing,’ Shelter’s legal adviser Liz Clare told the BBC. ‘From families in fear of falling further behind on the rent to people raising young children in a tiny, mouldy, freezing flat, people can feel completely overwhelmed.’
Words: Ellen White
Learn more about Shelter’s ongoing work here.