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How Inequality Impacts Mental Health

From increased rates of certain mental health disorders to lower rates of getting needed treatment, social inequality significantly impacts mental health.

Nearly 9% of people with incomes below the poverty level experience severe psychological distress. Many either refuse care or are unable to access treatment that can help, leading to even more mental and physical health problems. 

Judy E. Vansiea, DNP, MA, MS, APRN, NPP, at Coping Nurse Practitioner in Psychiatry Services in Uniondale, New York, aims to level the playing field when it comes to accessing high-quality care. Our practice opened its doors to serve and give back to our community, no matter one’s position in life. 

Impact of inequality on mental health

Studies have shown that certain mental health disorders appear more in unequal societies. These include:

A person’s negative self-perception when it comes to wealth, income, employment, and housing can lead to an increase in mental health disorders, as well as self-harm and suicidality.

Inequality can also lead to health issues like high blood pressure and stress, which can exacerbate many mental health conditions.

Barriers to getting treatment 

Despite the high incidence of mental health disorders that develop in people living in poverty, there are many barriers to receiving effective treatment. 

Many people simply don’t live in areas where there are qualified or accessible mental health providers. Some must travel long distances to find a health care provider whom they can afford or who is a good fit. This is especially inconvenient for people who have to take time off from work.

For other people, a lack of insurance means they can’t afford needed mental health treatment. For still others, not being able to find a provider they can connect with culturally may prevent them from getting needed treatment.

Despite the current awareness around mental health disorders, there often remains a stigma socially, culturally, or within families that having a disorder is something to be ashamed of. This sense of shame or embarrassment can lead many people to hide their symptoms or ignore them altogether.

Culturally competent care

No matter where you live or what your income level is, quality mental health care is available. At our practice, we have respect for every person who comes through our door. We offer appropriate cultural support to make sure your specific issues are addressed so you can receive treatment that’s tailored to you.

We take the time to find out about your housing, employment, background, and education so we can be sensitive to your specific needs. We want to take your personal experiences and socioeconomic situation into account when developing a treatment plan for you. 

To remove barriers to accessing treatment, we offer virtual telemental health visits. This allows you to get needed mental health treatment without driving long distances or taking more time off work to travel to an appointment. We can do everything we do in the office via telehealth so you get the services you need. 

Your financial or living situation should never be a barrier to receiving mental health care. To find out how we can help, call our office or send us a message online today.

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