This study used a mixed methods approach to investigate the housing and support needs of people with mental health issues in the Loddon Mallee region. It was initiated by Bendigo Health Carer Support Services in consultation with Loddon Mallee Mental Health Carers Network and used a survey and interviews for data collection. Taken together, these tools provide a clear picture of some of the challenges faced by carers and those for whom they care in both the short and longer term. There is ample evidence that carers recognise the accommodation and support needs of people with mental illness to be entwined in complex ways that encompass the nature of housing and financial capacity, access and location to supports, and planning for future needs. While much of the evidence found in this study echoes that of previous research investigations, the rural and regional context adds complexity to this picture because of the distances and costs involved in accessing services, and the limited availability of private and public housing options. The particular concerns of participants in this study related to accessing affordable, safe and appropriate housing in a timely manner. Housing was both a short-term and long-term concern for carers who wanted the security of a holistic planning process that gave clarity and security of tenure to people with mental illness.
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