Because Poverty Is Not a Mental Illness

Today an Inner Me article on anxiety was published in the online 'Maplewood Counseling Daily' along with a heap of other interesting articles on mental health related topics; one in particular grabbed my attention. The title reads 'Poverty, Not Mental Illness, The Likely Cause Of Anxiety Disorders In Poor Mothers'; it caught my attention because it speaks truth loud and clear to me.


Inner Me Therapy is all for de-medicalising mental, emotional and social health issues and keeping it real. We are all real people living real lives and will inevitably experience tough times, some endure them longer than others. The medical system can be all too quick to diagnose a condition which to me seems to be a normal human reaction to a difficult circumstance or experience. By-products of tough times are often variations on depression and anxiety- mood swings, worries, fear, poor motivation, weight loss/gain, social withdrawal, avoidance of suffering (in many forms), fatigue (it's all rather exhausting), agitation, anger...and the list goes one. If you've caught yourself feeling any or all of the above, perhaps you are experiencing what Doctors call anxiety or could also be having a normal human response to hardship, trauma, ongoing relationship difficulties, financial stress, work problems or the lingering effects of childhood unhappiness caused by a less than perfect home life.

Some people prefer a simple straight forward diagnosis, others find it lacks meaning and want more than that. Either way is fine, but you do deserve to choose how you make meaning of your experience. This choice is unfairly made for you within some societal structures. Thank goodness this research by social workers is paving the way for understanding human responses to hardship by looking at the big picture, understanding the complex interaction between an individual and their environment, not simply biology or brain chemistry.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic, please do leave a comment.

P.S Poverty is relative, you needn't live below the poverty line to experience it. It can also be defined through other indicators such as education, health, access to services and infrastructure, vulnerability, social exclusion, access to social capital, etc.

See the full article here.