Description: Perhaps hearing or reading that there is a strong relationship between rates of depression and socio-economic status (SES) would not be a surprise to you. While it may lead you to start to ponder what the connections between poverty and depression might involve it is worth stepping back from that important line of potential thought and inquiry for moment and thinking about the implications of this for social policy and particularly for the funding and the provision of mental health care generally. The ongoing debate about health care in the United States is one thing that makes Canadians, such as me, feel a bit smug about what we have in place in our country in the way of universal health care. However, any sense of superiority is short lived when one steps back and considered mental health care in which Canada is pretty much as “everyone for themselves” as is the United States. Across North America, rates of depression are higher among the lower SES ranks and access to treatment is significantly lower there too. Have a read through the article linked below and think about how the srearch findings it discusses may apply to your country of residence.
Source: Education Level Predicts Depression Rates and Access to Care, Guy Winch, The Squeaky Wheel, Psychology Today.
Date: March 16, 2019
Photo Credit: www.additudemag.com
The issue of access (or rather the lack thereof) to mental health services is discussed in the linked article form the American perspective but, as I noted above, it is a North America-wide issue. I have previous posted a number of times about a set of articles by the Globe and Mail looking at this issue in Canada (see links in the References list below). It is becoming increasingly clear that the line that we seems to have drawn between how we treat mental and physical health issues is a very problematic on and one which needs to be looked at seriously.
Questions for Discussion:
- What is the relationship between SES and the incidence and treatment of depression?
- Why is there a relationship between SES and the incidence and treatment of depression?
- What are some of the things we should be looking into as possible ways to address the SES depression (and mental health in general) relationship?
References (Read Further):
Todd, M., & Teitler, J. (2018). Darker days? Recent trends in depression disparities among U.S. adults. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Advance online publication.
Lorant, V., Deliège, D., Eaton, W., Robert, A., Philippot, P., & Ansseau, M. (2003). Socioeconomic inequalities in depression: a meta-analysis. American journal of epidemiology, 157(2), 98-112. https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/157/2/98/90059
The State of Canada’s Mental Health Treatment System: Broken? Fixable? http://wileypsychologyupdates.ca/uncategorized/the-state-of-canadas-mental-health-treatment-system-broken-fixable
Goldman, N., Glei, D. A., & Weinstein, M. (2018). Declining mental health among disadvantaged Americans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(28), 7290-7295. https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/115/28/7290.full.pdf