Kelly: Housing stress is creating real despair

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An accelerated programme of social housing building is urgently required in Derry after a new survey found high housing costs to be a major source of stress for one in three young adults, a local councillor has argued.

Colr. Colly Kelly, Sinn Féin’s local housing spokesperson, was speaking after the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), released figures revealing the true extent of the toll that high rents and house prices have been having on mental health.

He said the phenomenon was driving poverty and despair in Derry.

“A survey by the MHF has found that worries over housing are a key factor in growing levels of stress particularly among young adults, with one in every three 18 to 24 year-olds reporting housing worries, whether paying rent or trying to buy a house, as significant in undermining their mental wellbeing,” he said.

“We need more social housing to provide the kind of low cost certainty and security that many young people and young families need.

“Sinn Féin has consistently raised the issue of the impact a lack of social housing is having on mental ill health with both the Department of Communities and the Housing Executive,” added Colr. Kelly.

A new research report published by the MHF during this Mental Health Awareness Week 2018, concluded that housing was a key stressor for young people, contributing to poor mental health outcomes.

It stated: “For young people, our survey found housing worries (paying rent, affording to buy a house) to be key stressors, with more than one in three adults (32 per cent) aged 18-24 reporting this as a source of stress in the last year (compared to 22 per cent of 45-54 year olds, and 7 per cent of those aged 55 plus).

“They also reported higher stress related to the pressure to succeed, with 60 per cent of 18-24 year olds, and 41 per cent of 25-34 year olds reporting this as a stressor, compared to only 17 per cent of 45-54 year olds, and six per cent of those aged 55 plus.”