Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mental Health and Income Inequality

There have been several studies about the connection between Mental Health issues and Low-Income families and individuals. An April 2011 report stated the following. 

"Participants with household income of less than $20,000 per year were at increased risk of incident mood disorders during the three-year follow-up period in comparison with those with income of $70,000 or more per year," the authors report. 
"A decrease in household income during the two time points was also associated with an increased risk of incident mood, anxiety, or substance use disorders in comparison with respondents with no change in income," they write.

It goes to show that income inequality isn't just an economic issue, it's a health issue as well. It's no surprise that Low-Income families and individuals have a higher rate of mood, and anxiety issues, because of the constant strain of worrying about getting the bills paid and getting food on the tables not only for themselves but for their family as well. Children of Low-Income families don't do as well in school because it's hard to focus when your hungry, or don't know when you will eat next, or if the only meal they get is a school lunch. Although many schools have a morning breakfast program, there are still plenty that don't have one.

It's hard to have to choose between the medication that will help stabilize a mood disorder and having meals for a week. Although the ACA (Affordable Care Act, ie. Obamacare) is a good start, and single payer system would help to alleviate the stress of having to choose between having medication or food. With the GOP trying to privatize more and more of Medicare, and other social programs, in order to squeeze more money out of them, it's becoming harder and harder for low-income families to make ends meet even on Food Stamps, and other assistance.

Families and individuals that are struggling with just getting food and other basis needs met, are finding fewer and fewer resources available because more roadblocks are being put up by conservative legislators who aren't bothering with educating themselves on the realities of income inequality and are just blindly accepting myths and misinformation about the poor and homeless. In order to improve the care of individuals we are going to have to educate our leaders on the realities of what it's like to be poor, and show them the path which will benefit everyone.