MORE than a quarter of people in the region have suffered from mental health problems as a result of housing difficulties, with the worst affected having suicidal thoughts, a charity has warned.

Homelessness charity Shelter is highlighting the issue and is urging people to go them for help as it emerged that around one in 14 people in the North of England had visited their GP as a result of housing problems.

Research by the charity and ComRes has found 27 per cent of people in the North of England have experienced long-term stress, anxiety and depression because of a housing problem with around seven per cent going to their GPs because of it.

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Meanwhile in Yorkshire and the Humber, 24 per cent of adults surveyed had suffered a deterioration in their mental health because of housing problems, with one in 10 people saying they had visited their GP as a result.

Tracy Guy, Shelter North East manager, said: “Every day at Shelter Newcastle we hear from people who are at their wit’s end because they just can’t cope with their unstable, unlivable or unaffordable housing.

“From families worrying about falling behind on the rent to people struggling with the misery of raising children in homes that are in terrible condition – people can feel completely overwhelmed.”

The charity has carried out an investigation with 20 GPs, which found people were being diagnosed with anxiety and depression as a direct result of housing problems and bad housing is tipping some people with existing issues over the edge.

GPs told researchers they needed more help with supporting patients experiencing these problems.

Of those surveyed, 51 per cent said they had suffered anxiety as a result of housing pressures, 40 per cent had suffered depression and 52 per cent had suffered from stress. Around 48 per cent had had sleeping problems while 25 per cent had experienced panic attacks.

Shelter is urging people having difficulty with housing to get in touch.

Ms Guy added: “Getting advice and support early can ease the pressure and stop things spiralling out of control. Shelter’s free expert advice is only a click or conversation away – visit shelter.org.uk/advice or contact Shelter North East on 0344-515-1601.”