Housing, Homelessness and Mental Health

The safety, stability and security that comes from having a home is fundamental to optimal mental health and to leading a contributing life. The intersection between homelessness and mental ill health is a key concern for the Commission.

In 2017, the Commission embarked on a period of focused work on the link between homelessness and mental health.

This began with a national consultation on housing issues in relation to mental health and resulted in a comprehensive report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI). The Commission continues to support action and maintain a focus on monitoring and reporting in this area.

Policy Report

Following a national consultation on housing, homelessness and mental health (see Resources below) the Commission funded Australian Housing and Research Institute (AHURI) to conduct in-depth research on housing, homelessness and mental health. This work drew on insights from the consultations and involved an extensive review of the published evidence. Two investigative panel sessions were held in 2018 with a range of experts, including people with a lived experience of mental ill health and carers of those with such experiences, as well as representatives from peak bodies, service providers, and government agencies.

The AHURI report sets out 19 policy options, including actions that can be quickly implemented and collaboration-building activities to drive long-term change.

Further information can be found on the AHURI website.


The Commission held a national consultation to build a better understanding of the connection between housing, homelessness and mental health. 

Our consultation included national housing, homelessness and mental health workshops and an online survey, to gather feedback from stakeholders about key issues and gaps for people with lived experience of mental ill health when attempting to secure housing. 

The Commission has analysed all of the information from the workshops and online submissions. Key findings are reported in Outcomes from the National Mental Health Commission’s consultation in 2017.

Click the cards below to view the reports from each workshop.


Workshop attendees shared their viewpoints on the following issues:

  • The success factors of effective programs already in place.
  • How to increase housing supply for those with a mental illness.
  • How to provide more housing choice.
  • What data should be collected to monitor the effectiveness of systems which help people with mental ill health find a home.
  • Focus areas, suggested by workshop participants, relating to key areas and research that need(s) to be addressed.

The workshops reflected a cross-sectoral, collaborative approach at both a national and a jurisdictional level and brought together a diverse range of stakeholders, such as people with lived experience and representatives from the community sector, peak bodies, government departments and state mental health commissions.

Online community consultation

In addition to the workshops, the Commission also conducted community online consultations. Consumers, carers, families and support people were invited to share their experiences of housing insecurity and homelessness and its relationship to mental health. The survey was promoted through established networks and social media.


Last updated:
  • Consumer & carers
  • Lived experience
  • Stigma

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past and present, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.