Housing professionals often work in stressful conditions which can have a negative impact on their mental health. They often work in isolated environments, sometimes work with tenants who are in crisis, and have limited opportunities to obtain support for their mental health.
Poor mental health affects one in four of us in any given year. It can make it more difficult to deal with everyday life, and that includes maintaining a tenancy. When it comes to mental health, housing professionals and tenants are in it together.
Working closely with Mind, housing organisations and tenants, Aileen and the Chartered Institute of Housing have produced two #ShineALight toolkits to help the housing sector better respond to mental health challenges.
Aileen has implemented a wide range of workplace and workforce initiatives in her role as chief executive of Grand Union Housing Group, said her decision to focus on mental health and wellbeing during her presidency of CIH was an opportunity “to give something back to the profession and the people that supported me in my career.”
“As housing professionals, we need to equip ourselves to be mental-health aware, because if we are unwell - if we can’t bring compassion into what we do - then we can risk failing people from whom everyone else may have already walked away. People look to us for a home. We can’t walk away from our responsibility. My campaign is called Shine a Light, because that’s what I want to do – shine a light on mental health in housing. Because if we can’t talk about a problem, we can’t be part of the solution."