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Indigenous mental health, housing and homelessness

Allen & Clarke Consulting


Evidence exists that the provision of housing and the prevention of homelessness is important for the prevention of mental ill-health and suicide among Indigenous Australians. The relationship between housing and mental health is bi-directional. A person’s mental health can be negatively affected by the lack of safe, affordable and good quality housing, and the existence of a mental illness can affect an individual’s access to suitable housing.

This paper also acknowledges that mental health issues and suicide among Indigenous Australians result from cumulative historical, cultural, and social factors. These factors arise from the process of colonisation and its aftermath, which includes dispossession of land, racism, social exclusion, socioeconomic disadvantage, exposure to violence, and the forced removal of children from families (including the Stolen Generations), and the resulting trauma.

The authors examine the evidence of what works and does not work in mental health and suicide prevention programs and policy initiatives associated with housing and homelessness for Indigenous Australians. They report key information about research, evaluation, program, and policy initiatives, identify best-practice approaches and critical success factors for implementation, and outline limitations and gaps in the evidence.