To Go Forth is a blog of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development (JPHD). The blog takes its inspiration from Pope Francis’ challenge to go forth to the “peripheries” to share the Good News and stand in solidarity with those suffering poverty and injustice.
January 5, 2021
The relationship between mental health and poverty is complex. Poverty means more than lacking economic resources. In the United States, definitions of poverty vary with social, cultural, and political systems. Attempts to understand poverty from the perspectives of persons who experience it reveal that poverty is a multidimensional social phenomenon. Using an epidemiological, or scientific, mindset, poverty can mean low socio-economic status measured by social or income class.
Poverty can often intensify the experience of mental illness and may also increase the likelihood of the onset of mental illness. At the same time, experiencing mental illness may also increase the chances of living below the poverty line.