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Mental Health + Housing

Adequate, suitable and affordable housing contributes to our physical and mental well-being. When housing is inadequate or unavailable, personal as well as community well-being can suffer.
In Europe an average of 4.5 percent of the population suffered from depression in 2006. Mental diseases can entail suicide or attempted suicide. To date, about 58,000 residents yearly suicide in Europe, overtaking traffic accidents which cause 50,700 annual deaths. In 90 percent of the cases, mental disorders, mostly depressions, precede suicide.
People living in dwellings with inadequate shelter against threats like noise, cold or vandalism and crime are significantly more often suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. This is also true for substandard accommodations with insufficient daylight, hardly any view from the windows and not enough green spaces.
Inadequate housing conditions are most often related to a low income status and are typical for deprived neighbourhoods. Once stigmatized, the residential districts are at risk of ghettoization, moving in a downward spiral. Affected regions are populous, highly condensed residential quarters characterized by obvious deficiencies: Structural defects, environmental pollution, sparsely pleasing surroundings, diminished job offer, missing neighbourhood relations as well as shortcoming in- social and cultural facilities
Numerous studies verify that affiliation to a certain class of society determines the health prospects for a whole life. Accordingly, it is difficult to independently analyze the various reasons for mental diseases in a patient’s environment . In fact the external circumstances act synergistically.
The nationwide programme "Residential City Districts in Deprived Areas-Social City" has been launched by the Federal Republic and the Federal States to counteract this fatal context and prevent social polarisation. It aims to integrate immigrants, families with low income and elderly singles. It further aims to strengthen the identification of the residents with their district.
Socially mixed residential areas with privately financed rental apartments, condominiums and public housing projects can help to alleviate the situation in poor neighbourhoods and strengthen neighbourhood relations.
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Further Information

Mental health and housing