Housing and living with a mental illness: exploring carers' views
Browne, G & Hemsley, M 2010, 'Housing and living with a mental illness: exploring carers' views', International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 22-29.
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Public policy and an increasing body of literature identify housing as a critical element in recovery. Without suitable housing, people have little chance of maintaining other resources in their lives, such as supportive relationships and meaningful activities. It is also public policy that carers are central to decision making. There is evidence in the literature that carers often make a significant contribution to consumers staying well. Unfortunately, carers often feel ignored and/or excluded from decision making. This study is part two of a two-part study (see Browne et al. 2008). It used focus groups with seven carers to explore their perspectives on recovery, with a particular focus on housing needs. The participants agreed that quality housing is a critical element of recovery. They identified ‘safety and vulnerability’ and ‘stigma’ as the important issues to be considered. They recommended that supported housing be stable, that services come to the consumer, and that the safety of consumers be a priority. This study took place in Australia and the findings have relevance there, but there are also implications for mental health service delivery internationally.