EBN Spotlight: Cold homes and their impact of mental health

This EBN Spotlight introduces our new podcast (here) with Dr Kimberley O’Sullivan (Senior Research Fellow, University of Otago) and Dr Ben Parkinson (Deputy Editor, EBN). Kimberly is an expert on fuel poverty and health and has published widely on the topic (here). This podcast is an excellent opportunity to hear Kimberly share her knowledge on the public health implications around housing and mental health.  

In the podcast Kimberley and Ben highlight the importance of housing and the impact cold housing and fuel poverty can have on mental health. The podcast focuses on ‘Becoming unable to afford adequate home heating is associated with increased risk of severe mental distress’(1) which is a EBN commentary published by Kimberley (here). The commentary and this podcast discuss important research(2) using data from the UK Household Survey to investigate the impact of cold homes on mental health.   

In the podcast, Kimberley and Ben continue the conversation around poor housing and mental health. Kimberly is keen to stress the importance of ensuring people are supported to live in warm housing to avoid social, economic, and mental health harms. Kimberly also provides interesting insight from her own research on the topic and raises awareness about different strategies and approaches that can be used to help people in unsuitable living environments. One area of interest is hearing what Kimberley says about the role of nursing and what nurses can do to help people living in fuel poverty or cold homes. Kimberley is also keen to point out that further research is required to get a better understanding of the links between cold housing and increased risks of mental health difficulties.   

Check out some of the other EBN podcasts (here). 


  1. O’Sullivan KC. Becoming unable to afford adequate home heating is associated with increased risk of severe mental distress. Evidence-Based Nursing. 2023. doi: 10.1136/ednurs-2022-103668.  
  2. Clair A, Baker E. Cold homes and mental health harm: Evidence from the UK Household Longitudinal Study. Soc Sci Med. 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.115461. 


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