An estimated 45 per cent of Australians aged 16-85 years will experience a high prevalence mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or a substance use disorder in their lifetime. 2-3 % of the population have a severe mental health disorder, 4-6% a moderate mental health disorder, and 9-12% a mild mental health disorder.
For those Western Australians who experience mental ill health or alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues, living in safe, secure and stable housing is an important part of their road to recovery. Housing which fosters meaningful relationships for individuals, both in the home and the community, is associated with improved wellbeing and quality of life, and decreased symptoms and service use.
The current accommodation and support system for people with mental health, alcohol and drug issues is not adequately equipped address to people’s complex needs due to the following gaps and issues:
- Location of support programs, especially in regional and rural areas;
- An inadequate supply of affordable and appropriate housing;
- Underdevelopment of protocols for mental health and tenancy support for people exiting institutional care settings;
- Insufficient integration of housing programs with mental health services;
- Rationalised and time-limited nature of support services; and
- Barriers to collaboration.
There needs to be a focus on the level and funding of outreach services that covers mental health and alcohol and drug programs. These outreach services create a level of support in the entire system that is needed.
Shelter WA acknowledged the work and direction of the Mental Health Commission’s Accommodation Strategy, which is due for imminent release. We need to create a housing system that provides individual and personalised support and accommodation through effective system-wide partnerships and continuous improvement to create inclusive communities.