Health experts and policy makers have known that housing conditions can have a big impact on residents' health and well-being (see our previous blog post here).
But in recent years, researchers have focused not only on the connection between physical health and housing, but specifically on the role that housing concerns can have on residents’ mental health.
For example, a 2015 policy brief published in How Housing Matters highlights the strong connection between poor rental housing and mental health conditions such as depression. Citing research analyzing a group of 385 Latino adults in the Bronx, New York, the brief states that housing conditions can affect mental health outcomes, both inside and outside the home, in the following ways:
- Poor housing conditions can lead to depression and hostility among residents.
- Perceived overcrowding increases feelings of hostility and depression.
- Neighborhood disarray — vacant lots and buildings, vandalism, trash, etc. — also contribute to feelings of hostility; on the other hand, greater neighborhood cohesion, defined as the sense that people are willing to help each other, lessens these symptoms.
Around the world, other researchers are finding similar links between housing and mental health. A February 2016 article published in the British newspaper The Guardian reports that families suffer the following effects when exposed to poor or unstable housing conditions:
- Children who have lived in temporary homes for more than a year are three times as likely to experience depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.
- Women are more likely to be negatively affected by poor housing conditions, with 10% of mothers living in inferior housing reporting being clinically depressed.
And it’s not just housing conditions that affect mental health. Families concerned about their housing costs are also suffering negative mental health effects. Citing a national survey conducted by the British charity Shelter, The Guardian article reports that:
- Nearly 1 in 3 adults report suffering from stress and depression due to concerns about their housing costs.
- 1 in 4 experience sleeplessness because they are stressed about paying their rent or mortgage.
- 1 in 4 report that housing costs are causing arguments with their partner and other family members.
Are you stressed about your housing situation? We encourage you to find a nonprofit housing counselor who can help you analyze your finances and create a plan to improve your housing options. To find a nonprofit housing counselor in your area, visit the Texas Financial Toolbox at www.texasfinancialtoolbox.com.
On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.