Families affected by the Mica crisis have opened up about the severe mental strain of having a home with defective blocks.
A survey conducted by the Mica Action Group unveils the unrelenting anxiety people endure about safety and finances, the distress of having homes demolished and worries about future homelessness.
Prior to being aware that their house was affected 96% of homeowners reported having good to excellent mental health. Following the recognition of defective blocks in their home, 84% state that it has had a negative/very negative impact on their mental health, with 45% of homeowners now rating their mental health as poor or very poor.
A common theme in the survey was the constant nature of the anxiety seeping into all corners of their lives, with 50% feeling unsafe in their home. Typical comments made by homeowners describing the devastating impact were:
“Mica is in your mind 24/7. Affects your ability to function, make decisions and see the good around you. When you wake up it’s like you never slept – it’s in your head”
“Worry constantly – no enthusiasm at all”
“Can’t cope with this madness anymore, nightmares thinking something will fall off (the house) and hurt one of my children. Can’t afford it – living hell”
The survey, taken last week, had 483 responses from members of the Mica Action Group.
70% reported as suffering from anxiety, 65% difficulty sleeping, 46% with low mood and 25% as depression. Many described the combination of poor sleep and sapping effect of ever-present anxiety as having a detrimental effect to their motivation and enthusiasm for other areas of life. Some reported having to medicate themselves for the first time in their lives simply to cope.
Almost 40% signaled that living in an affected home had a negative or very negative impact on their physical health. Prior to being aware of mica/pyrite in their home 98% said they rated their physical health good to excellent, whereas now 22% were reporting their physical health as poor to very poor.
A statement from the Mica Action Group said: “There is also a plausible connection between the severe mental strain and the onset of illness or the worsening of underlying physical conditions. Some defective block homeowners with pre-existing illness such as asthma, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and high blood pressure reported an exacerbation of their condition.
“The fact that this stressful situation has been a reality for some homeowners for over a decade is unthinkable. Successive governments have attempted to play down its seriousness and scale. The current scheme is described as ‘not fit for purpose’ by the majority of as it does not provide them with a way out of the nightmare by allowing them to reclaim their homes and their lives. Not knowing if, how or when they can move forward feeds into a perpetual stress for many, as one homeowner put it “fear is constantly present, we’re in limbo”.”
“On Friday 17th September 2021, Government officials involved in the current talks will be presented with a document from homeowner’s reps detailing exactly what is needed to end the homeowner’s turmoil and allow them to move forward. It can only be hoped that it is treated with respect and gravity and is acted upon with urgency.”