Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 52, Issue 7, pp 842–850 | Cite as

Money and Mental Illness: A Study of the Relationship Between Poverty and Serious Psychological Problems

  • Ingemar Ljungqvist
  • Alain Topor
  • Henrik Forssell
  • Idor Svensson
  • Larry Davidson
Brief Report


Several studies have indicated a co-occurrence between mental problems, a bad economy, and social isolation. Medical treatments focus on reducing the extent of psychiatric problems. Recent research, however, has highlighted the possible effects of social initiatives. The aim of this study was to examine the relation between severe mental illness, economic status, and social relations. Method: a financial contribution per month was granted to 100 individuals with severe mental illnesses for a 9-month period. Assessments of the subjects were made before the start of the intervention and after 7 months’ duration. A comparison group including treatment as usual only was followed using the same instruments. Significant improvements were found for depression and anxiety, social networks, and sense of self. No differences in functional level were found. Social initiatives may have treatment and other beneficial effects and should be integrated into working contextually with persons with severe mental illnesses.


Severe mental illness Poverty Social network Symptoms Functional level 



The study has been approved by The Regional Ethical Review Board in Lund, Sweden, national registration number H15 2012/518.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflict of interests and individually certify responsibility for the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingemar Ljungqvist
    • 1
  • Alain Topor
    • 2
    • 3
  • Henrik Forssell
    • 4
  • Idor Svensson
    • 5
  • Larry Davidson
    • 6
  1. 1.Blekinge Centre of CompetenceKarlskronaSweden
  2. 2.Department of Social WorkStockholms UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Faculty of Health and Sport SciencesUniversity of AgderGrimstadNorway
  4. 4.Blekinge County Hospital and Blekinge Centre of CompetenceKarlskronaSweden
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyLinnaeus UniversityKalmarSweden
  6. 6.School of Medicine and Institution for Social and Policy StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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