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Poverty And Mental Illness Essay

2487 words - 10 pages

The concept of poverty is complex and has many indicators across different disciplines. The prevalence of poverty is growing and the effects of poverty impacts individuals, families and communities across the lifespan. One area of focus is on poverty in relation to mental illness. The impact of poverty on mental health has been shown to affect those of all ages. Many people are unaware of the widespread poverty and its effects on mental health in the United States and many other countries, therefore it is important to analyze the concept of poverty in mental illness. There are often no or limited resources available to help those affected by poverty and mental illness, and those that provide advanced care need to be knowledgeable of the problems in order to help develop and provide assistance to those in need.
Review of Literature
In the process of researching the concept of poverty and mental illness I found it crossed boundaries into many disciplines. I chose to focus my search to the areas of nursing, psychology, and sociology.
Psychology
Goldman-Mellor, Saxton, & Catalano (2010) investigate the relationship between poverty and mental health. Reports suggest that economic adversity of individuals and of communities may contribute to the onset of mental disorders. The loss of employment causes not only the loss of income but also the loss of a social network. This loss causes material strain and may increase strain on relationships. Those in a community affected by poverty who continues to be employed may also suffer strain due to decreased wages, decreased job security and increased workload. The loss of community resources may also occur. The stresses brought about by these precursors can result in negative effects on mental health. The impact of the loss not only affected with the loss of ability to provide basic needs but also loss of social status, which often lead to aggression, depression and substance abuse (Goldman-Mellor, et al., 2010). An antecedent to poverty in this study is loss of ability to provide basic needs and the criteria is an inadequate environment due to lack of basic needs met and lack of social support.
According to Murali & Oyebode (2004), poverty and social inequality have direct and indirect effects on the social, mental and physical health of individuals. Income inequality can lead to psychosocial stress, which then leads to deteriorating physical health and eventually can increase mortality rates. Those living in deprived communities that have little or no resources available, can lead to poor health, cause stress and family disruption. Those who live in poverty often live in dangerous environments, have stressful, unrewarding work, and lack of necessities. Those living in these conditions often adopt maladaptive behaviors as coping mechanisms to relieve stress. Those who are unemployed were said to be have an increased rate of psychiatric disorders. All of these factors can lead to...

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