Money and Mental Illness: A Study of the Relationship Between Poverty and Serious Psychological Problems
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.
KeywordsSevere 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.
- Andreassen, N. C. (1984). The broken brain: The biological revolution in psychiatry. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- Davidson, L., Haglund, K., Stayner, D., Rakfeldt, J., Chinman, M., & Kraemer Tebes, J. (2001a). “It was just realizing… that life isn’t one big horror”: A qualitative study of supported socialization. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 24, 279–292.Google Scholar
- Hansson, L., Middelboe, T., Sörgaard, K. W., Bengtsson-Tops, A., Bjarnason, O., Merinder, L., et al. (2002). Living situation, subjective quality of life and social network among individuals with schizophrenia living in the community. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 105, 343–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jonsson, J., & Mood, C. (2014). Sociala konsekvenser av ekonomisk utsatthet. Umgänge, stöd och deltagande (Social consequences of economic vulnerability. Visitation, support and participation). In M. Evertson & C. Magnusson (Eds.), Ojämlikhetens dimensioner. Uppväxtvillkor, arbete och hälsa i Sverige (Inequality dimensions. Childhood conditions, work and health in Sweden). Stockholm: Liber.Google Scholar
- Muntaner, C., Borrell, C., & Chung, H. (2007). Class relations, economic inequality and mental health: Why social class matters to the sociology of mental health. In W. R. Avison, J. D. McLeod, & B. A. Pescosolido (Eds.), Mental health, social mirror. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Read, J. (2010). Can poverty drive you mad? ‘Schizophrenia’, socio-economic status and the case for primary prevention. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 39, 7–19.Google Scholar
- Robichaud, J.-B. (1994). Les liens entre la pauvreté et la santé mentale—De l’exclusion à l’équité (The links between poverty and mental health—From exclusion to equity). Paris: Gaetan Morin Editeur.Google Scholar
- Socialstyrelsen. (2006). Lägesrapporter 2006 (Rapport 2006). Handikappomsorg (Disability care). Stockholm: Socialstyrelsen (National Board of Health and Social Affairs).Google Scholar
- Söderberg, P., Tungström, S., & Armelius, B.-Å. (2004). GAF-skalans reliabilitet i kliniskt arbete (GAF scale reliability in clinical work). Umeå: Umeå universitet, Institutionen för psykologi.Google Scholar
- SOU. (1992). Välfärd och valfrihet (Welfare and wellbeing) (Vol. 73). Stockholm: Government Offices of Sweden.Google Scholar
- Topor, A., Ljungqvist, I., & Strandberg, A-L. (2015a). Living on the margin: Severe mental illness, poverty and social isolation (submitted).Google Scholar
- Topor, A., Ljungqvist, I., & Strandberg, A-L. (2015b). Living in poverty with severe mental illness—Coping with double trouble (submitted).Google Scholar
- Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2009). The spirit level. Why more equal societies almost always do better. London: Penguin Books Ltd.Google Scholar