National mental health report 2013

Indicator 4: Percentage of mental health consumers living in stable housing

Page last updated: 2013

Key messages:

  • Nationally, the percentage of adult consumers of state and territory mental health services (aged 15-64) with no significant problems with their living conditions has been stable from 2007-08 to 2010-11 (sitting at around 78%). Consumers in the Australian Capital Territory were the least likely to report problems and those in the Northern Territory were the most likely to do so.
  • The percentage of older adult consumers (aged 65+) with no significant problems with their living conditions has shown a slight improvement over time, rising from 79% in 2007-08 to 83% in 2010-11. Older consumers in New South Wales were the least likely to report problems, and those in Tasmania were the most likely to do so.
  • Safe, secure and affordable accommodation is critical to recovery for people living with a mental illness.
Mental illness can act as a risk factor for homelessness, and, in turn, unstable housing can exacerbate symptoms of mental illness. Good collaboration between mental health services, housing providers and accommodation support services can improve the housing prospects of people with mental illness and contribute to their overall wellbeing.

Proxy information on this indicator is available for consumers of state and territory mental health services. For adult consumers (aged 15-64) it is derived from the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS) and for older adult consumers (aged 65+) it is taken from the HoNOS65+. These measures are administered routinely at selected points during episodes of care in state and territory mental health services. Item 11 on the HoNOS and the HoNOS65+ requires the treating clinician to rate the consumer's problems with living conditions and is scored from 0 (no problem) to 4 (severe to very severe problem). These data provide an indicator of the housing status of consumers but should be interpreted with caution for several reasons. Item 11 on the HoNOS and HoNOS65+ relies on the clinician knowing the living circumstances of the consumer and is not optimally completed.

Figure 49 provides national and jurisdiction-level data on the percentage of adult consumers who, on admission to care, had no significant problems with their living conditions. Nationally, the percentage has been stable from 2007-08 to 2010-11 at around 78%. Of all states and territories, the Australian Capital Territory performs the best, with figures close to 90% in the latter years of the period. Consumers in the Northern Territory are most likely to have difficulties in this area, with only 69% having no significant problems with their living conditions in 2010-11, down from 81% in 2007-08.

Figure 50 provides equivalent data for older adult consumers. The total includes data from all states and territories, but individual figures for the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory are not presented because of small numbers. Nationally, the percentage of older adult consumers with no significant problems with their living conditions has shown a slight increase over time, rising from 79% in 2007-08 to 83% in 2009-10 and 82% in 2010-11. Consumers in New South Wales appear to be the most likely to be rated as having no problems, peaking at 89% in 2009-10.

Governments have acknowledged the crucial role played by stable housing in promoting recovery from mental illness. The Fourth National Mental Health Plan emphasised the importance of developing integrated programs between mental health support services and housing agencies to provide tailored assistance to people living with a mental illness. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) reinforced this in its recent endorsement of the Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform, 2012-2022.1 Top of page

Figure 49: Percentage of state and territory mental health services consumers aged 15-64 years who are recorded at admission as having no significant problems with their living conditions

Refer to the following table for a text equivalent of Figure 49: Percentage of state and territory mental health services consumers aged 15-64 years who are recorded at admission as having no significant problems with their living conditions

Text version of figure 49

2007-08 (%)2008-09 (%)2009-10 (%)2010-11 (%)
NSW
76
77
79
78
Vic
78
78
77
78
Qld
78
79
78
75
WA
81
80
81
80
SA
77
75
76
76
Tas
70
76
76
74
ACT
85
90
89
89
NT
81
71
71
69
National
77
78
78
78
Top of page

Figure 50: Percentage of state and territory mental health services consumers aged 65+ years who are recorded at admission as having no significant problems with their living conditions

Refer to the following table for a text equivalent of Figure 50: Percentage of state and territory mental health services consumers aged 65+ years who are recorded at admission as having no significant problems with their living conditions

Text version of figure 50

2007-08 (%)2008-09 (%)2009-10 (%)2010-11 (%)
NSW
84
86
89
87
Vic
80
81
81
82
Qld
76
78
80
79
WA
83
83
81
85
SA
69
72
78
75
Tas
67
66
72
70
ACT
-
-
-
-
NT
-
-
-
-
National
79
81
83
82