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Mental Health / Poverty Link

Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:54 pm
by Chris From The Gulag
Interesting article from today's Guardian which examines the above link.

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017 ... le-poverty

Austerity is an economic choice: it’s a foolish one that saves nothing and harms millions. Any campaign on mental health should champion combating poverty to stop more people experiencing entirely preventable problems.


Worth spending a few minutes to read as is the numerous comments at the bottom.

Some commments are also naive as the age old problem kicks in ... if one has not suffered from a mental health condition , how does one pass judgement on someone who as ????????

Ask any 5 psychologists the same question , you'll probably receive 5 different replies.

Re: Mental Health / Poverty Link

Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:00 pm
by jenny lucas
I will read the article, but the general principle surely is that if one is suffering any kind of ill health/disability etc etc, one is far more likely to be poor than someone in good health??

Re: Mental Health / Poverty Link

Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:08 pm
by jenny lucas
Ah, OK - the article argues that poverty CAUSES mental illness (which then of course contributes to poverty!).

Yes, very plausible....

However, not sure about their argument that it's economically shortsighted not to provide treatment for mental illness because I suspect that all the 'lost earnings' stuff is not really a key contributor to the wealth of the nation - poor people don't earn much when they're working, and therefore are they ever likely to 'pay in' much more than an unable-to-work mentally ill person 'takes out' in welfare? I suppose the multiplier effect kicks in across large numbers??

To be somewhat cynical, I think the bottom line of the Guardian article is simple that it wants the state to fork out much more for those who are 'helpless' for whatever reason they are helpless (some justified, some maybe not so justified???). (That said, however, the state forks out HUGE amounts on the clearly 'undeserving' -eg, bailing out profligate banks!) so may the 'undeserving poor' might as well get 'their share' as well)(ie, if they ARE 'undeserving' that is, which begs a big question itself!)

However, it is hard to reject the argument that poor people are more likely to get depressed (ie, about their poverty) than not-poor people.....they have a whole lot more to be depressed about than the not-poor.

Re: Mental Health / Poverty Link

Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:18 pm
by Chris From The Gulag
Mmmm ... interlocking thread yet again ... finances ?

Poor people ?

2 " Classes " ... those working and those who are not ... collectively called The Underclass ( CarerWatch patent on that one ... the 1 in 4 close to / at / below the official poverty line ! ).

First wave of Austerity aimed squarely at those who are not working.

Recently , Austerity has tightened , and now attacking those who are working as well.

" Basic Income For All " ideas knocking around more often over the past couple of years.

Those who are suffering from some form of mental illness which , either curtails their ability to earn more , or , more extreme , causes them not be " Fit " for work.

Help or hinder ?

Re: Mental Health / Poverty Link

Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:50 pm
by jenny lucas
I suspect there is also a 'genetic' or perhaps 'generational' aspect to this too. My argument would be that someone is poor/has mental illness (whichever came first!) so they are 'poor' AND 'mentally ill'.....they then go on to have children, and those children grow up 'poor' AND with a parent (usually the mum, and all too often no sign of a live-in dad!) who has mental illness....wel, that poor kid isn't going to have much of a chance of a decent well adjusted life, are they? They've grown up (a) poor and (b) with a mentally ill parent, so, guess what? Yup, THEY will be poor in adult life and probably mentally ill too.

So, whether that mental illness is 'genuinely' genetic (ie, some 'faulty' genes cause mental illness and those genes are passed on down through the generations) or simply 'environmentally genetic' - ie, the children grow up in homes with a poor, mentally ill parent, is irrelevant - UNLESS we intervene to stop the poverty and 'cure' (or at least ameliorate) the mental illness - or nip any 'next generation' mental illness in the bud. This is not likely to happen, is it? (sigh)

Re: Mental Health / Poverty Link

Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:05 pm
by MrsAverage
Hi Jenny
I'm not sure that's borne out by statistics or proven science , Perhaps you can add a signature to your posts stating its only a personal opinion?

That said there are large increases in brain damage from alcohol, drug and substances misuse that present as mental health issues that are linked to poverty and the enviroment one is brought up in...
.. in my opinion as i dont have the links to the research to hand :blush:

Re: Mental Health / Poverty Link

Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:15 pm
by jenny lucas
Well, that's why I said 'I suspect'! :)

It's a depressing subject, but where does mental illness come from? It is, after all, either 'truly genetic' (ie, in the genes) or it's environmental - or it's both (eg, a genetic predisposition that is then 'activated' by a malign environment).

And the substance abuse is another complication - especially again as one questions which comes first? Do those with mental illness 'self-medicate' so to speak with drugs/alcohol, or does substance abuse catalyse mental illness (or, again, a mix of both!).

I have a vested interest personally in assigning a predominantly environmental cause for mental illness, but that's because my mother had mental illness and so the last thing I want to 'believe' in is a genetic cause!!!!

It can be very difficult to disentangle genetics from environmental causes. For example, my SIL has a 'tendency' toward depression, but her daughter has clinical depression. Now, is there a genetic link, or did my SIL simply 'teach' her daughter to have depression?? (or both!). Incidentally, my niece is most definitely 'poor' because of her depression, as it stops her having a job (or believing she can have a job?? Or believing she actually has to have a job in the first place.....Who knows!)

And then, of course, it isn't just 'mental illness' is it - any more than it's just 'physical illness'....ie, a huge variety of both type and 'intensity'.....

Re: Mental Health / Poverty Link

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:53 am
by Chris From The Gulag
Several articles over the 5 months since the first posting ... today's one in the Independent is worthy of inclusion as it focuses on the present Government policy of how they are NOT dealing with the problem :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 55881.html

Government accused of 'empty promises' on mental health as NHS plans to slash funding.

New figures reveal half of CCGs plan to reduce proportion of their budgets spent on mental health.

The Government has been accused of “empty promises” over boosting mental health provision as new figures reveal that half of local NHS bodies plan to slash spending on vital services.

Cash-strapped Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England said they will reduce the proportion of their budgets spent on offering mental health support in 2017/18, despite previous commitments from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that spending would increase.

New figures show that 50 per cent of CCGs would see their mental health budgets squeezed next year, compared to 57 per cent in 2016/17 and 38 per cent the year before.

Number of firefighters on mental health sick leave jumps by a third

Theresa May has made high-profile pledges to improve mental health support and ensure it has parity with physical health, yet critics said she has presided over cuts to NHS budgets that are putting patients at risk.

Labour MP Luciana Berger, who obtained the data through freedom of information requests, said: “Theresa May claims to be committed to improving mental health but her cuts are harming mental health services.

“This is the second year in a row that half of our cash-strapped CCGs have not increased their proportion of spend on mental health.

“Ministers must ask themselves how long this can be allowed to go on for. They are overseeing a system which puts patients at risk and staff under unbearable pressure.

“Enough empty promises. At the very least Jeremy Hunt must urgently introduce a ringfence around mental health budgets.”


Needless to add .... the dreaded post code lottery is at work here as well.

Usual comments section , an early one stands out :

If the numbers of those suffering from mental health problems keep rising in proportion to population, there must be reasons why this is happening. We need to urgently analyse the ways in which we live, the expectations that we have got and the burdens we have to deal with both as individuals and as members of families and community.

I don't think that the competition, competition, competition approach is a healthy approach and what becomes immediately apparent is that the gap between expectations and means to achieve keeps growing leading people to feel desperate, useless and isolated.


I hope for the future generations seeking work mending defective robots will not encounter problems with their " Positronic " brains ?

Perhaps a secondary army of " Carers " armed with a spanner and screwdriver ... and a sledgehammer if all else fails ?

Note to the future Dr. Susan Calvin ... ?

Like George Orwell and 1984 , Isaac Asimov and his robotic empire , some visions of the future are coming so too true ?

Re: Mental Health / Poverty Link

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:05 pm
by jenny lucas
I think it is 'interesting' that the numbers of people with MH is rising relative to population. As you say, what is going on?


The trouble is, one person with MH has two children, say, and then the chances that BOTH the children will have MH - as it's STRONGLY correlated with MH-parents, whether genetic or psychological or both - and then they will go on to have children, who are also likely to have MH too.....

It's also, to my mind (and I'm someone with an MH parent, and it bypassed me, but it didn't my niece) a question of actual definition. As we know, no one is allowed to be simply 'unhappy' or 'discontented with life' etc any more - we all have to be depressed, or have some kind of personality disorder or dysfunctional syndrome, and then folk get labelled MH etc etc. Little is expected of them (eg, to be able to hold down a job), so they are palmed off with cut-price benefits, sink into poverty (and that's pretty depressing straight off!) and down, down, down they go.

My niece with depression is now 'non-functional' in society. Take her benefits away, and the free housing she gets from her parents, and she'd starve in the gutter. Maybe in 'olden days' that's exactly what happened? These days we don't do that, so they keep going, and 'burden' society (and, of course, themselves.....)

Also, all the traditional societal support structures are lacking - my niece is lucky as she lives next door to her parents - but many come from broken homes, broken lives, etc ec (as I say, strong correlation with MH parents - who, by definition wil lbe unable to parent their own children well). We have no church, no social expectations, no structures - just antidepressants and barely-liveable on benefits.

It would be interesting to compare how 'healable' those with MH are who are 'sheltered' by 'family money' so to speak, and have access therefore to private therapy, compared to the rest of us without such financial support.

Even with that, though, there is a 'culture of MH' in society - aided and abetted by, as I opened, with the fact that the dear old US DSM (the MH 'bible') has a 'syndrome' for every unhappiness under the sun. Even bereavement is only supposed to cause grief for a fortnight - after that it's clinical depression......

Finally, of course, MH becomes a 'gateway condition' to those who find life 'difficult' and benefits a better alternative to paid employment and often, of course, the ONLY alternative as paid employment is simply not available, or not sufficient to live on, even at subsistence level (and, as I say, perpetual, inescapable poverty is definitely something to get clinically depressed about.)

Re: Mental Health / Poverty Link

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:08 pm
by jenny lucas
Arguably, of course, neither the pharmaceutical industry, nor the psychiatry industry has any 'neutrality' on the subject of MH - one could argue they all have a vested interest in patients NOT 'getting better'......