Getting a council house is sometimes one the best things that can happen to someone who is faced with depression as it reduces their housing costs. Through this article, we aim to learn whether someone with depression can get a council house. However, to have a wider view, we will also discuss if a letter of support from your GP can serve as evidential support for your council housing claim on grounds of mental health. Towards the end, we will review the relationship between depression and housing conditions.

Can I Get A Council House With Depression?

Yes, you can get a council house if you are suffering from depression In fact, if someone is faced with a mental illness including depression and anxiety, they will be given priority for council housing due to their vulnerable situation.

While anyone who is a British citizen, living in the UK, above the age of 18 years and is on low income qualifies for council housing, certain individuals are given priority on their council housing application due to the nature of their circumstances and a dire need for shelter, comfort and affordable housing. This includes individuals faced with homelessness, domestic abuse, disabilities and mental health concerns.

Being assigned on a higher priority is an indicator that while other applicants may be able to move into a council house months after filing an application, prioritised candidates will be able to find a council house within weeks or even days at times. However, this depends on the availability of an appropriate council house that meets the tenant’s needs and the severity of their conditions.

However, if you are applying for a council house on the ground of mental health concerns, you will need to provide evidence of the following: 

  • detailed assessment of your health conditions ideally signed by your GP
  • how your current place of residence is making your condition worse
  • how living in a council house can be beneficial to your mental health 

If a council housing applicant faced with depression is assessed with the need to have more support than they currently have, their GP or the council’s occupational therapist may advise the following alternate living arrangements through the council or charitable schemes:

  • Supported accommodations such as group flats or housing with self-contained accommodation and communal areas
  • Sheltered housing with medical and communal support
  • Hostels for short-term accommodation; usually until an applicant is allocated a council house 

How Do Councils Allocate Housing To Someone With Depression?

Since an individual faced with depression is in a highly vulnerable state, council authorities will be additionally cautious in the type of council property being assigned to them. Below is a review of some key factors that councils keep in mind while allocating council tenancy to an applicant with depression: 

  • Medical access: it is essential that council tenants facing depression of easy access to professional support services, including mental health units, therapists and counsellors. They are either provided residence near a clinic that offers support or informational brochures are shared with them so that relevant information regarding mental health support is easily available to them. 
  • Community relations: while some individuals faced with depression prefer to isolate themselves and will need support only from a medical practitioner in the beginning; some tenants will thrive better in an active community. On the basis of an analysis by the tenant’s own GP or through an Occupational Therapist arranged by the council, this assessment can be made before a council house is assigned to them for tenancy.
  • Security: Tenants faced with depression are more likely to be extra sensitive than most people towards abuse, bullying, prejudice and discrimination. Some may prefer to live in a quiet part of the council estate while others may need the support of active neighbours. Therefore, councils make sure that housing is allocated depending on the individual needs of tenants with mental health concerns while everyone feels safe and comfortable in their environment with additional care and support.

Do I Need A Letter Of Support To Get A Council House If I Have Depression? 

Yes, if you are applying for a council house on the grounds of a mental health concern, you will need a letter of support signed by a qualified GP, psychiatrist or psychologist who can confirm the health problems that you face, the impact of your current living conditions on your mental health and the potential advantage(s) to your mental health status by living in a council house.

Below is a sample draft that can be helpful in getting a council house on the mental health grounds:

Dear To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to you today with reference to the council housing application filed by Ms. (insert name) with the request for a claim to priority considering their medical condition.

My name is Dr. (insert name). I have been consulting the applicant for the past two years now for depression and anxiety. 

I am sure you would understand that since Ms. (insert name) lost her job during the pandemic, their privately rented house is no longer affordable on the limited income of part-time employment. Additionally, she has been unable to manage a full-time job due to her mental health condition which makes the situation even more challenging due to the financial constraints she faces. 

It is, therefore, requested that Ms. (insert name) be granted council housing on a priority basis so that her health does not deteriorate any further under the current living conditions. I am sure that once she finds community support and is able to manage her expenses through affordable housing, Ms. (insert name) will find an improvement in her general well-being.

Enclosed are some of the medical recommendations made to the applicant over the course of the past few months by the undersigned. Should you require further details regarding her medical records, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Sincerely,

(name of author)

(position held by author)

(organisation/department)

Can Housing Problems Cause Depression?

Yes, according to a report based on research conducted by the housing and homelessness charity Shelter in partnership with ComRes, one in five adults have faced mental health problems due to housing problems in the past 5 years. Some of the key findings were as follows:

  • people with mental health conditions are one and half times more likely to be living in rented accommodation
  • they are twice as likely as compared with the general population to be unhappy with their home (or living conditions)
  • four times as likely to admit that their home it living conditions are making their health worse

During this research, some of the primary reasons for depression being a result of housing problems have been found to be as under:

  • living in an unsafe environment; whether due to the fear of domestic abuse or an unsafe neighbourhood
  • living in an expensive house that you can no longer afford due to financial constraints
  • an overcrowded house that makes it difficult to sleep
  • antisocial behaviour of household members or neighbours
  • lack of access to water supply, utilities or a cooker

If someone is faced with such housing problems, they are more likely to feel stressed, anxious or depressed and their situation will only worsen if they continue living in such conditions. This is the primary reason why mental health concerns place a council housing tenant on top of the priority list.

Conclusion:

The facts discussed in this blog post make it quite clear that not only can someone with depression apply for council housing, but they will also be given the highest priority considering their mental health. However, the council authorities will need official documentation in this regard which means that the applicant will need to have a letter of support signed by the GP that will serve as support to their claim for council housing.

FAQs: Can I Get A Council House With Depression?

Can Social Services help with housing in the UK?

Yes, the Social Services department of your local council office can help with housing in the UK. Interested applicants should get in touch with them to learn more about the eligibility criteria and application process.

Can your house affect your mental health?

Yes, research has proven that poor living conditions can cause depression and stress while healthy living conditions release stress and anxiety. Similarly unaffordable rental payments or rmortgage, overcrowded conditions and unsafe neighbourhoods can affect your mental health.

Where can my mentally ill son live in the UK?

You may be able to take your son to a “crisis house” in an urgent situation but this is only a short-term solution. In the case of mental health concerns, the patient’s doctor will be able to advise what living conditions are best for them.

What is “supported accommodation” for mental health?

Supported accommodation relates to a group of flats housed together where tenants live independently but share communal areas such as gardens or lounges so that they find support in the company of others. Usually, such accommodation also provides 24 hours medical assistance as well to its residents.

Can you be evicted if you have mental health issues?

No, you cannot be evicted if you have mental health issues and your health concern is categorised as a disability under the Equality Act 2010 as this will be considered direct discrimination.

References:

Housing options

Housing and mental health

How long does it take to get a council home? – Shelter England

Social Housing and People with Mental Health Difficulties | The National Disability Authority

Shelter’s report on the impact housing has on mental health

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