Mental Health charity Mind, has met with MPs and Housing Associations at  a parliamentary reception, to remind them of the importance housing has on the mental health of social housing tenants. On 5th February Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, urged MPs to keep housing on the political agenda. Representatives came together in Westminster for the release of Mind’s new film, ‘Beyond Bricks’, which explores how poor social housing can impact people’s mental health. Speakers at the event included Jackie Doyle-Price MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state for mental health and John Healey MP, shadow secretary of state for housing. The film comes on the back of new research which showed renters are at greater risk of suffering from poor mental health than people who own their own homes.

The research, carried out by Understanding Society, funded by the Economic Social Research Council, derived from a seven year study of over 40,000 households, found that those in the social rented sector had a higher risk of mental health problems compared to those who are home owners. Previous research by Mind also found more than two in five (43%) people with mental health problems living in social housing, have seen their mental health deteriorate as a result of where they live.

Chartered Institute of Housing, chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE said: “We know that housing is so much more than bricks and mortar – when we get it right, it can be the foundation for our health, happiness, education and working life.”

Paul Farmer further commented, “With so much focus on Brexit right now, it’s refreshing to see so many MPs, housing associations and others come together to show that housing and mental health is still a key priority. Two in five people with mental health problems in social housing become more unwell as a result of where they live, so we absolutely cannot let social housing reform be put on the backburner.”

The sector has certainly seen over recent months, a need and responsibility by the Registered Providers of Social Housing, not just to provide the housing, but to provide higher quality housing, in addition to a safe, secure environment, which will further enhance the life changing experience of the service users.