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Poverty and mental disorders: breaking the cycle in low- and middle-income countries

Mental ill-health and poverty are closely linked and interact in complex negative cycles

“What interventions are needed to break the cycle of poverty and mental ill health?”

Growing international evidence shows that mental ill health and poverty interact in a negative cycle in low-income and middle-income countries. However, little is known about the interventions that are needed to break this cycle.

The vicious cycle of poverty and mental ill-health Social Selection or Social Drift theory: People with mental illnesses are at increased risk of drifting into or remaining in poverty through increased health expenditure, reduced productivity, stigma, loss of employment and associated earnings.

A UN General Assembly Declaration (A/RES/65/L.27 2010) on global health and foreign policy welcomed the WHO report, and recognized that mental health problems have “huge social and economic costs.” There is growing international evidence that mental ill health and poverty interact in a negative cycle in low-income and middle-income countries.

This cycle increases the risk of mental illness among people who live in poverty, and increases the likelihood that those living with mental illness will drift into or remain in poverty.

Mental health interventions can be associated with improved economic outcomes.

 Mental Health interventions can have positive effects on economic status – some poverty alleviation interventions, such as conditional cash transfers and asset promotion programmes, can have mental health benefits.

Read more in this Policy Brief or the full text in The Lancet

Related Publications: Integration of mental health into primary care in low- and middle-income countries (PRIME)

Mental health, Poverty & Development (WHO)

Source: PRIME policy brief #1 

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Inspiring African innovations: Perinatal Mental Health Project, South Africa [#WHD2017 Africa Blog Series]

This blog is part of our series celebrating World Health Day 2017. This year’s theme is Depression: Let’s Talk and we’re showcasing inspiring innovations addressing depression across Africa.

Source: [#WHD2017 Africa Blog Series] Inspiring African innovations: Perinatal Mental Health Project, South Africa | Mental Health Innovation Network

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