With a fifth of English homes officially not decent to live in, health and housing professionals are joining forces to improve residents’ wellbeing

When Billie Dee moved to London after university, a run of unpaid internships meant she could only afford a windowless room in a flat share in Stratford or stay with her boyfriend in Guildford. The room in Stratford made her “horrendously depressed”, she says. “There was no ventilation or natural light. I felt incredibly claustrophobic and my mental health rapidly deteriorated.”

Her boyfriend’s basement room was even worse: “His room was rotting and damp. I actually got whooping cough, which lasted nearly three months. I was so depressed and anxious, and my self-worth was seriously low because my surroundings were so bad.” The situation dragged on for a year until Dee got a new job and could afford somewhere better to live.

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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