Mental health and housing : joined up thinking for 21st Century  community mental health ....   


Since the general election of 2010, and the formation of a Coalition Government, it has been impractical to attempt to identify key government policy documents, as we have done in the past. The changes are too sweeping, too rapid, and often too unclear, with ministerial pronouncements and speeches often running some way ahead of formal government policy statements and legislation.

One exception to this general rule was the joint CLG/NMHDU guidance on meeting the psychological and emotional needs of homeless people, which was developed under the old government, but published - after some delay - under the new. We include this document - which is non-statutory guidance - partly because of the immediate relevance to our central concerns; and partly because we contributed to the thinking and the writing.

“New Horizons” is in abeyance, while the new government develops a new Mental Health Strategy. Yet many aspects of the old government’s approach to health and social care seems set to continue, even to accelerate. The impetus towards personalisation and individual budgets seems un-stoppable; and the drive towards better local co-ordination and integration of services remains.

The one most striking development here is probably the announcement of a public health policy, with a budget held at local authority level.  (For the potential scope of this, see the brief  quotation from Secretary of State Andrew Lansley on the “Big Idea” page.)

A white paper on public health was published pn 29th November; both in the papers itself, and in subsequent debates in the Commons and the Lords alike, housing is referred to as one of the key features of the social determinants of health that must be addressed.

It seems clear from past ministerial speeches - for example Anne Milton at the Kings Fund - that mental health, in the broadest sense, will figure as a major concern for public health.

Meanwhile, all aspects of social housing and welfare policy are under scrutiny, from housing benefit  to the expectation of a lifetime tenancy. Both are the subject of much press comment, and it would be superfluous to add further at this stage.
Mental Health and Social Exclusion
SEU/ODPM ( 2004)
See also Publications and Papers for recent RJA papers, and Thinkpieces and Reviews for commentary
See also..

RJA papers and publications has a compendium of recent published articles from  RJA , free to download.

Plus in the Reviews and Thinkpieces sections you will now find further topical commentary; not yet a blog - but on the way there.

Policy & Guidance

Key related government and other guidance

Note - these pages are subject to especially rapid change currently

Guidance on meeting the psychological and emotional needs of homeless people’


‘Inclusion Health; improving the way we meet the primary healthcare needs of the socially excluded'

Dept Health and Cabinet Office, 2010


‘New Horizons; a shared vision for mental health’

Dept Health, 2009

‘The role of Housing Associations in promoting meaningful interaction’

CLG 2009


‘Support Related Housing Good Practice Examples, ‘

Care Services Efficiency Delivery, DH, 2008


‘Guidance on Joint Strategic Needs Assessment ‘

Dept of Health, 2008


Delivering Health and Well-being in Partnership: the crucial role of the new local performance framework

DH/CLG, Dec 2007

‘Place-shaping: a shared ambition for the future of local government, ‘(aka the Lyons Enquiry report)

HM Treasury 2007

Ends and Means; the future roles of social housing in England

Sir John Hills, CASE report 44, ESRC 2007

‘An opportunity waiting to happen - housing associations as’ 'community anchors'

NHF/hact, 2006


Background on PSA 16 - prioritising the most disadvantaged adults: SETF briefing, Cabinet Office, November 2007

Breaking down barriers; clinical case for change

Lewis Appleby, National Director for Mental Health

DH, May 2007

Action on Mental Health: a guide to promoting social inclusion

Social Exclusion Unit, ( Sep 2004)

esp Factsheet 6: Mental Health and Housing.


Supporting People Guide to Accommodation and Support Options for People with Mental Health Problems

ODPM ( 2004 )

The main thrust of much of contemporary policy has been towards devolving power from Whitehall, to local authorities and local communities.

Effective community empowerment and participation may have some impact, in run down areas, on those with common mental health problems of depression and anxiety.

But how far this will prove compatible with protecting the needs of the more marginalised - the homeless, the mentally ill - remains cause for concern.

‘Healthy lives, healthy people: our strategy for public health in England”

Dept Health, 2010