Money can't buy happiness, but poverty harms mental health

April 27, 2018, University of Sheffield
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

People often say that money can't buy happiness; however a new collection of scientific studies published this week (Friday 27 April 2018) highlights how living in poverty can significantly harm people's mental health.

The research, published in the journal Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, indicates that a chronic lack of money can be damaging to 's health and wellbeing – something which currently isn't widely acknowledged by and mental healthcare providers.

Edited by Dr. Jaime Delgadillo, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Sheffield, the international collection of research featured in a special edition of this journal indicates that people living in poverty are more likely to develop problems, which could be related to their increased exposure to adverse life events and a chronic state of unmet material and emotional needs.

The studies presented in the journal examine the relationship between social inequalities and psychological care. Together, the findings show that people living in poverty are less likely to start treatment for . Once they do start treatment, they are more likely to have ongoing mental health problems after the treatment is completed, and they face a range of material (e.g. lack of transportation) and social (e.g. stigma) barriers to accessing support. The studies also indicate that people living in poor neighbourhoods are less likely to recover from depression and anxiety symptoms after psychological treatment, compared to people from more affluent neighbourhoods.

Furthermore, research suggests that mental health practitioners often fail to recognise the role that socioeconomic factors have on their patients' wellbeing, and are therefore less able to understand their plight and to meet their needs. This may be further complicated by educational and social class disparities between professionals and patients.

Dr. Delgadillo, who edited the collection of research papers, said: "It's becoming clearer that poverty and are closely connected, but this connection is yet to be recognised by policy makers and providers.

"People living in poverty face a range of barriers when it comes to getting appropriate support for mental health problems. They often can't afford basic things like childcare support or transportation needed to get to . There is also still considerable stigma around mental health problems and asking for support can be very difficult, particularly for people living in poverty. What's more alarming is that working in the poorest neighbourhoods often lack funding and resources to meet the increased demand for treatment.

He added: "Money can't buy happiness, but increased funding for mental health and social care services would certainly help to enable the poorest in our society to access the help that they need."

Explore further: Self-rating mental health as 'good' predicts positive future mental health

More information: The collection of research can be accessed via: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/17461405

Related Stories

Self-rating mental health as 'good' predicts positive future mental health

April 2, 2018
Researchers have found that when a person rates their current mental health as 'positive' despite meeting criteria for a mental health problem such as depression, it can predict good mental health in the future, even without ...

Teachers can help reduce mental health problems in children, study finds

April 12, 2018
School-based mental health services delivered by teachers and staff can significantly reduce mental health problems in elementary-aged children, according to a new study by researchers at the Florida International University ...

Teachers and other school-based professionals can effectively treat children's mental health problems

March 1, 2018
School-based services delivered by teachers and other school-based professionals can help reduce mental health problems in elementary-aged children, reports a study published in the March 2018 issue of the Journal of the ...

Many NHS patients experience relapse of depression and anxiety problems after discharge from mental

May 1, 2017
A new study reveals approximately 53 per cent of NHS patients had a clinically significant deterioration of depression and anxiety symptoms within a year after completing brief psychological treatments.

More than 50% of Americans now have at least one chronic health condition, mental disorder or substance-use issue

October 26, 2016
With the future of U.S. healthcare likely to rest on the next presidency, a new study from Psychology, Health & Medicine highlights just how complex the medical needs of many Americans now are.

Mental health services are failing young autistic people

June 26, 2017
More and more is being done to raise awareness of mental health problems at a public and policy level, and understandably so. One in six adults in the UK has a common mental health condition, and one in 20 adults has thought ...

Recommended for you

Levels of gene-expression-regulating enzyme altered in brains of people with schizophrenia

December 14, 2018
A study using a PET scan tracer developed at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has identified, for the first time, epigenetic differences between the brains of individuals ...

Video game players frequently exposed to graphic content may see world differently

December 13, 2018
People who frequently play violent video games are more immune to disturbing images than non-players, a UNSW-led study into the phenomenon of emotion-induced blindness has shown.

Researchers discover abundant source for neuronal cells

December 13, 2018
USC researchers seeking a way to study genetic activity associated with psychiatric disorders have discovered an abundant source of human cells—the nose.

New genetic clues to early-onset form of dementia

December 13, 2018
Unlike the more common Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia tends to afflict young people. It accounts for an estimated 20 percent of all cases of early-onset dementia. Patients with the illness typically begin to ...

How teens deal with stress may affect their blood pressure, immune system

December 13, 2018
Most teens get stressed out by their families from time to time, but whether they bottle those emotions up or put a positive spin on things may affect certain processes in the body, including blood pressure and how immune ...

Increased motor activity linked to improved mood

December 12, 2018
Increasing one's level of physical activity may be an effective way to boost one's mood, according to a new study from a team including scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in collaboration with the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.