How Does Poverty Contribute to Children’s Mental Health Issues?
Studies have shown that poverty can contribute to children’s mental health issues. According to the World Health Organization, “One in six people are aged 10-19 years. Adolescence is a unique and formative time. Physical, emotional and social changes, including exposure to poverty, abuse, or violence, can make adolescents vulnerable to mental health problems.”
It seems that some children who struggle with mental health issues are simply displaying behavioral responses to poverty. GFA World has seen this time and time again in impoverished regions of South Asia and Africa. Poverty is a holistic issue and impacts a child spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally and of course economically. That is why many of GFA’s programs concentrate on the whole child, not just meeting his or her physical needs.
Children who live in poverty can be helped tremendously when they have adults around them who assure them of their value. GFA comes alongside families to help children and teens in many ways. Some of those ways include the following:
- Meeting tangible needs – When children and teens have a better environment at home, they feel more secure. According to a BC Medical Journal report on children’s mental health in relation to poverty, “Screening for poverty and making treatment recommendations that address a family’s lack of income and resources can lead to significant change for children.” When GFA provides a sponsored child with a daily nutritious meal, school supplies, access to clean water, etc. a child feels more secure.
- Helping with emotional needs – Children living in poverty often feel unsafe, vulnerable and marginalized. GFA has national missionaries and volunteers who understand the situations these children are in. They can offer a listening ear and provide comfort, encouragement and hope in times of distress.
- Helping with spiritual needs – GFA missionaries are passionate about sharing Christ’s love with those in need. God is the ultimate source of hope and comfort, and it’s a joy to share Jesus with people in the communities they serve.
Will you join GFA World in sharing hope and peace to children in some of the poorest regions of Africa and Asia? By relieving tangible needs and helping with emotional and spiritual needs, GFA World is changing lives of people in poverty.Learn more about how to provide hope for children
 “Adolescent Mental Health.” World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health. November 17, 2021.
 Jakovljevic, Ivana, MD, Ashley P. Miller, MDCM, FRCPC, Barbara Fitzgerald, MD, FRCPC. BC Medical Journal. “Children’s mental health: Is poverty the diagnosis?” https://bcmj.org/sites/default/files/public/BCMJ_Vol58_No8_Children-mental-health-poverty%20%28ID%20106172%29.pdf. October 2016.