4329.0.00.005 - Mental Health and Experiences of Homelessness, Australia, 2014  
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MENTAL HEALTH AND EXPERIENCES OF HOMELESSNESS


The GSS collected information about long-term health conditions, including mental health conditions, for the first time in 2014. People aged 15 years and over were asked if they had ever been told by a doctor or nurse that they had a mental health condition that had lasted or was expected to last 6 months or more. In 2014, 3.4 million people (18%) reported having a mental health condition, including depression or feeling depressed, behavioural or emotional disorders, dependence on drugs or alcohol, feeling anxious or nervous, or problems learning or understanding things.

People who reported having a mental health condition were more than twice as likely to have experienced homelessness in their lifetime, compared with people who did not (25% compared with 10%). People who reported a mental health condition were also more than twice as likely to have experienced homelessness in the last 10 years compared with people who did not (15% compared with 6.1%).

The following flow-chart outlines the percentage of the population that reported having experienced homelessness by whether they reported having a mental health condition.

Figure 1: Experience of homelessness flow-chart

Image: Flow-chart outlining the percentage of the population aged 15 years and over who have experienced homelessness by whether or not they had a mental health condition.


In 2014, one in three people (34%) aged 25-34 years who reported having a mental health condition had experienced homelessness in their lifetime, compared with one in eight people (13%) of the same age who did not have a mental health condition. Similarly, people aged 35-44 years and 45-54 years who reported having a mental health condition had relatively high rates of experiencing homelessness (32% and 31% respectively).

Graph Image for Proportion of people who had ever experienced homelessness, age and mental health status, 2014

Source(s): General Social Survey, 2014



Of people living in most disadvantaged areas of Australia, one in three people (34%) with a reported mental health condition had experienced homelessness in their lifetime, compared with one in six people (15%) without a mental health condition. This pattern was consistent irrespective of level of disadvantage; of people living in the least disadvantaged areas, one in five people (20%) with a reported mental health condition had experienced homelessness compared with one in twelve people (7.9%) without a mental health condition.

Graph Image for Proportion of people who had ever experienced homelessness, socio-economic disadvantage(a) and mental health status, 2014

Footnote(s): (a) Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage. A lower quintile (e.g. Quintile 1) indicates an area with relatively greater disadvantage. A higher quintile (e.g. Quintile 5) indicates an area with a relative lack of disadvantage.

Source(s): General Social Survey, 2014



In 2014, 43% of people aged 15-64 years with a reported mental health condition were not in the labour force (that is, without a job and not actively looking for work), compared with 29% of people without a mental health condition.

Of people who had a reported mental health condition, almost one-third (32%) who were not in the labour force had experienced homelessness in their lifetime, compared with one-quarter of people (26%) who were in the labour force.

Graph Image for Proportion of people who had ever experienced homelessness, labour force status(a) and mental health status, 2014

Footnote(s): (a) People aged 15-64 years.

Source(s): General Social Survey, 2014