Growing Trend Between Poverty and Mental Illness
By Brian Iniguez Infographics August 30, 2013
The effects of poverty on Americans’ mental health is still not fully understood. Previous in-depth coverage has fleshed out the ongoing problem of the 16.2 million children living in poverty, but what’s occurring mentally in these neglected pockets is universal, regardless of age.
The poverty line now sits at an annual salary of $11,500 for an individual. Add a child and a partner into the mix, and the poverty line increases by $6,000 for this demographic.
Fifty-one percent of Americans are expected to live in poverty before the age of sixty-five. African Americans and Native Americans are hit hardest by this epidemic, comprising about one in four for each demographic.
This has a huge impact on those already suffering from a lack of income. Depression was five times as likely to appear with those living below the poverty line from 2005 to 2010. This can help explain the heightened suicide rate in 2008, the year the Great Recession began.
About 39 percent of the homeless are affected by mental illness, most notably schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
With few resources to pay for medication or treatment, those living in poverty are less capable of coping with afflictions in a healthy manner. Ultimately decreasing chances of employment, thus perpetuating minimal income and unchecked mental complications.
It’s a real chicken-and-the-egg scenario. Which came first, the poverty or the illness? And how can the cycle be broken?