Money can't buy happiness, but poverty harms mental health
April 27, 2018, University of Sheffield
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 people's health and wellbeing – something which currently isn't widely acknowledged by policy makers 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 mental health 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 mental health problems. 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.