News & Events

Housing is good mental health

July 15, 2019

Access to safe, affordable housing is a human right for everyone but for people experiencing mental health, housing is crucial for the prevention of and recovery of mental ill-health.

OCAV has made this viewpoint plain to the Royal Commission into Mental Health, noting that the incidence of mental health among older people is on the rise, with depression the most prevalent mental illness in older adults. The rate of depression is significantly higher in residential aged care homes.

“We know from our Social Return on Investment report last year that our residents and their families valued OCAV’s safe housing and support not least because it gave them peace of mind,” CEO Phillip Wohlers said.

“We also know from our residents that those who have come in from insecure housing – like private rental, public housing or from living with family and friends, that their anxiety and depression drops considerably once they are in a home of their own which is safe,” he added.

Mr Wohlers is calling on politicians to take the opportunity to act on findings from the Royal Commission, and particularly to ensure to that housing is addressed when implementing changes to the mental health system.

“The Victorian Government has already acknowledged that the mental health system needs to be recast in this State, and we welcome that. What we want to ensure is that older people’s mental health and their housing needs are made visible,” Mr Wohlers said.

Mr Wohlers said that OCAV took its role in assisting residents address loneliness, depression and anxiety seriously.

“Over the last year, we have started programs with researchers from La Trobe University and National Ageing Research Institute looking specifically at the role Virtual Reality may play in enhancing social well-being, and the role that volunteers may play in ‘befriending’ older people who have no family or support group,” he said.

Mr Wohlers said he was excited about initial findings, and looked forward to sharing them more widely.

"I love the fact that Rushall Park residents and volunteers are so active – contributing to life in the village. The sense of the community is strong which is why I put my name on the waiting list" - Maggie Birkett.

Enquire today about securing a position at one of Melbourne's longest established and highly reputable independent living estates.

Enquire Now