Well Community member Nathan* used to work. He liked to work. He wants to work again. But the challenges of living with bipolar disorder make steady work impossible. Coping with mental illness often occupies a great deal of his focus and energy and keeps him from being able to concentrate on the job. “My mind won’t stop. Even though I’m treated [with medication], my mind still races a lot, and it’s to the point where it keeps me awake at nighttime.”
As a result, Nathan has struggled to multitask in jobs, and recalls how he often wasn’t able to keep up with production while working at a factory. “I can’t have a whole bunch [of directions] in my head because I get things mixed up. In the work environment, sometimes they would just pile things on top of me. It just becomes overwhelming.” Continue reading
As if navigating life with a severe mental illness doesn’t create enough challenges, mental health difficulties often result in an array of additional debilitating hurdles. Because many living with mental illnesses do not have the ability to hold a job, poverty is often a constant companion. With poverty comes homelessness, poor health and insufficient nutrition, not to mention the less visible struggles with stigma and shame.
Members of The Well Community deal every day with serious mental health disorders such as bipolar, schizophrenia and major depression. And they live each hour with the despair of poverty. Continue reading
Health crises like the coronavirus pandemic impact us all. But, those who live with serious mental illnesses face unique challenges in times like this. Not only can uncertainty and fear trigger worsening of symptoms, but lack of access to things like healthy food, shelter and medical care can lead to a higher risk of illness.
The poverty faced by many who deal with life-altering mental health conditions plays a major role in magnifying the challenges of health crises. Below are several ways that those living with mental illnesses are especially impacted by lack of resources in times like these. Continue reading
Poverty touches every area of life for members of The Well Community. Program Coordinators Ericka Ruiz and Gemma Cardenas continually see how lack of resources tie the hands of those living with serious mental illnesses, preventing them from pursuing recovery. Continue reading
It’s hard to overstate the weight of poverty in the lives of those dealing with mental illnesses. Poverty can both increase the likelihood that a person will suffer from mental health challenges and make it more difficult for those already living with these struggles to pursue recovery.
Many intertwining factors related to poverty create a tangled cycle for those living with mental health conditions. For example, a serious mental illness can make it difficult for a person to hold down a job. As a result of being out of work, they may be unable to afford healthy food or a bus pass to get to a doctor’s appointment, adding extra hurdles in managing their illness. They may lose their housing, further eroding their ability to pursue stability. And, as they lack the resources necessary to take steps to improve their mental health, they remain unable to work and their condition may become an even greater struggle. Continue reading
Mental illness and poverty are often deeply intertwined. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), not only can living with a mental illness increase the risk of living below the poverty line, poverty can increase the likelihood that an individual will began experiencing mental health challenges and intensify the experience of mental illness. Continue reading
Mental illnesses impact people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. While treatment can make these conditions more manageable, many minority populations face challenges that make it more difficult for them to get the care they need. When left untreated, mental health issues can become more severe and can make life with them increasingly difficult to navigate. Continue reading