Bad housing harms mental health of mothers and children, finds ESRI report

The damaging impact on mothers’ mental health of living in a home that is cold, damp and overcrowded is leading to “much poorer” outcomes for their children, a landmark study published on Thursday finds.

“Mothers experiencing inadequate housing and poor-quality neighbourhoods tend to have higher levels of depression, worse self-rated health, and find parenting more stressful, as well as reporting greater conflict and less closeness with their children,” finds the report from Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

Titled Housing, Health and Happiness: How Inadequate Housing Shapes Child and Parental Wellbeing, the study notes longer time spent in “inadequate housing” leads to “more negative wellbeing outcomes”.

Additionally, it finds low-income households and those headed by lone parents, migrants or disabled people are “more likely” to live “in unsuitable homes, to struggle to heat these homes and to reside in areas characterised by greater disorder and lower levels of social capital”.