According to a recent study conducted by University of California, older adults who lived in violent, poverty stricken areas are more to experience more depression related symptoms than their peers that do not live in impoverished or violent neighborhoods. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of people with mental and psychosocial disabilities are living in poverty, poor physical health, and are subject to human rights violations. When considering mental illness, it must not be considered in isolation from other areas of development, such as living conditions, employment, education, emergency responses/access, and human rights capacity building.
People with mental illness are one of the many vulnerable groups because of the way they are treated in and by society. Persons with mental illness are often subjected to stigma and discrimination on a regular basis, sadly, they experience extremely high rates of physical and sexual victimization. Frequently, people with mental illnesses or challenges will encounter restrictions in the exercise of their political and civil rights, as well as in their ability to participate in public affairs. Those that fail to receive appropriate treatment for their mental illness are limited in their ability to access essential health social care and emergency relief services. Most people with mental disabilities face disproportionate barriers in attending school, being viewed outside of their illness, and securing employment. As a result of all these factors, people with mental disability are much more likely to experience disability and die prematurely, compared with the general population.
Useful Tips to Improve the Lives of Persons with Mental Illness Include:
Examples of the Impact Poverty Has on Mental Illness Include:
It should be noted, persons with mental illness may be living in poverty for other reasons, that are separate from their mental illness. Some people will develop depressive symptoms and suffer from poverty as a result of lack of optimism about their future, opportunities, lot in life, etc. Additionally, persons living in poverty may not have access to, or knowledge about, medical help and therapy that can both help diagnose and treat their mental illness.
People living in long-term poverty may lack motivation or confidence to succeed in life. This can create feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts/ideations. Lack of nutrition, lack of education, and a feeling of living day to day can all deplete someone?s energy and willpower.
It is possible that mental illness can serve as a positive correlate between poverty and mental illness. Someone who suffers from a mental disorder may not be able to hold down a job, or may not manage their finances well enough to stay out of poverty. In these cases, someone may also turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve their mental or physical pain, and may add substance addiction to the list of things keeping them down, financially.