Over a million UK adults are struggling with both their mental health and housing costs


Home really is where the heart is, and new research out today reveals the often devastating impact when that’s under threat. New analysis of national data by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that:

  • over a million UK adults are both struggling with their mental health and housing costs – with one often feeding the other
  • people who are struggling with housing costs are one and a half times as likely to experience mental health problems – a squeeze in living standards is leaving many behind on rent and in need of mental health support.

Today’s report found that mental health problems also make arrears harder to resolve, and that offers of support from housing providers are not getting through. This creates a cycle of rent arrears, fears of eviction and mental health problems that is hard to break. Social housing providers already offer support for their residents far beyond what is available in the private rented sector. However, the charity found that tenants with mental health problems were struggling to open letters, answer the phone or otherwise engage with the support available. Money and Mental Health has published a new best practice guide to help housing associations reach those most in need of help.


Simon Crine, Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute said:

“For most of us, our home is central to our wellbeing, our sense of self and our confidence that we can support and protect our families. When that comes under threat because of difficulties meeting the rent it can have an immediate and profound impact on our mental health. Today’s research reveals for the first time the sheer number of people affected, and sets out some straightforward things that can be done to help.”


The research was welcomed by a consortium of housing associations, including some of the UK’s biggest housing providers, who worked with the charity to understand the issues affecting their tenants.

Money and Mental Health is also calling for the government to do more to help – making specific changes to the benefit system that would support people with mental health problems to stay in their homes. This includes paying the housing component of a person’s benefits directly to their landlord if they have a mental health condition which limits their ability to manage their finances themselves, and allowing benefit payments to be backdated by more than a month where a claimant has been too unwell to claim.


Simon Crine said: “We’re delighted that six housing associations have supported this work so far, and we hope that the government will take these recommendations on board in the same constructive way.”


Read the full report at





Helen Undy, 07827917829, [email protected] for all media enquiries including interviews with spokespeople.


Notes to Editors

    • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in spring 2016, registered charity number 1166493.
    • It conducts research and develops policies for banks, lenders, regulators, the health service and government to help people with mental health problems protect themselves from financial difficulties and get out of debt.
    • Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is an award-winning campaigning broadcaster, newspaper columnist and author. He founded in 2003 for £100 and remains its full-time Editor-in- Chief. It is now the UK’s biggest money site, with more than 14 million monthly users. Martin has his own prime-time ITV programme – The Martin Lewis Money Show – and is resident expert on This Morning, Good Morning Britain and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Consumer Panel, among others.
    • Where the heart is: Social housing, rent arrears and mental health was kindly supported by Hexagon Housing Association, The Hyde Group, Optivo, Orbit, Origin Housing Ltd and Southern Housing Group.
    • The estimates that over a million adults are struggling with both their mental health and housing costs, and that people who are struggling with housing costs are one and a half times more likely to experience mental health problems ares derived from new analysis of Understanding Society, a large-scale longitudinal study of UK households, and the Office for National Statistics’ most recent mid-year population estimates for the UK (2016). Understanding Society interviews over 40,000 households every year to gather information on health, work, education, income, family and social life in the UK. This research draws on one wave of Understanding Society data – Wave 7, collected in 2015/16. For a full methodology see