Does poverty cause depression?

Money doesn’t buy happiness – rich people

Poverty is a state of being in which a person or family lacks the resources to meet basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. It is measured using a variety of indicators, including income, education, and occupation. There are many different levels of poverty, and poverty can mean very different things in different places of the world. Here we will be focusing on poverty tied to welfare or disability pay, as well as poverty caused by minimum wage. In most cases, that means having just enough to pay for rent, not enough for a full month of groceries, and pretty much nothing to replace clothing that may need replacing.

Poverty as a cause for depression?

Poverty can absolutely cause depression. It affects us in a number of ways that affects our mood, wellbeing, and stress-levels.

First, people who live in poverty often don’t have access to proper nutrition or mental health care. Vitamin deficiency brings the whole body into a state of distress. Not being able to eat enough meals every day of the month, or repeatedly having to eat, say, a ton of ham sandwiches, will keep you fed, but it’s not nutritious enough.

Second, the stress of living in poverty can be overwhelming. There is the prospect of being homeless within two months if one emergency occurs, and living paycheck to paycheck and in debt can only worsen depression. However, that “emergency” sort of living can certainly cause depression in itself after enough time. It’s not sustainable.

Finally, people who are living in poverty often feel like they can’t escape their situation and that there is no way out. There are lots of feelings of hopelessness and despair, sadness and overwhelm at the whole thing.

And they’re not wrong. Poverty is an extremely difficult situation to come out of.

On top of what I mentioned above, I can list many more consequences of living in poverty, including physical health problems, social isolation, and difficulties securing employment or housing. All of these things can contribute to depression.

What is wrong with this picture?

There are several things we can do to help people who are living in poverty and experiencing depression.

On a societal level:

We must ensure that everyone has access to proper mental health care.

We need to provide support and resources to help people cope with the stress of poverty.

We can and should create opportunities for people to get out of poverty and improve their lives.

Anyone with employees should raise their wages or at least provide proper benefits for their employees.

Landlords can stop this ridiculous war on tenants by keeping their rent prices normal. Note, I didn’t say low, I said normal. It’s no secret that apartment building owners have been jacking up prices like crazy, and for no reason other than to get more cash in their pockets.

What can we do to help people who are living in poverty and experiencing depression

We can feel limited as one person, but never think our impact isn’t just as important. You don’t have to impact everyone’s lives. What if you have a good impact on just one person? Or five? That’s five people who had a much nicer day than they expected!

But what can little ol’ me do?

On a personal level:

We need to raise awareness about the link between poverty and depression so that more people know about it and can take action.

If you think of donating food, clothing or money, make sure to research where you are donating. You’d be surprised how much donated stuff never goes where it’s supposed to go.

If you’re in a position where you can afford it, consider making sandwiches and distributing them to homeless people. Maybe get them a bottle of water, too, and/or a fruit! You’ll make their day, and that way, it’s sure to end up in the right hands.

Keep dumpsters accessible. Many people will prefer having a roof over their head even if it means they won’t have enough food. That may mean dumpster diving. Companies keep their dumpsters under lock and key, but people who need food enough to go dumpster diving only want some sustenance.

If we can’t fix the fact that they need to go through garbage for food, let’s, at the very least, de-stigmatize it.

On that last point, we can ask others to help by signing petitions to bring to grocery stores and convenience stores, and restaurants.

Just look at France. They did that! Now, they’re making sure the expired foods from all these places don’t end up in the garbage, but in the hands of the less fortunate. Of course, expiration dates are only “guesstimates,” which means a lot of food is still good for consumption past that date. By implementing such a system, any food past their date will need to be checked well, but it reduced food waste so much in France!

AND it feeds the poor!

So yeah, how about we do that? It’s possible. It’s being done right now.

Is it only depression?

There are several other links between poverty and mental health issues. For example, people who live in poverty are more likely to experience anxiety, stress, and sleep disorders. They are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as drug use or unprotected sex. The many repercussions of poverty on a person can be devastating.

I have enough to write many blogs on poverty + mental health, and I will. Poverty is much more of a factor in mental health issues than we are led to believe. In many cases, “just stop buying iced coffees” and “meal prep instead of eating out” are not only stupid tips and tricks, they also show how uninformed people are. We can’t afford iced coffees in the first place.


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