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Can J Psychiatry. 1997 Apr;42(3):285-90.

Poverty and mental illness.

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  • 1Laboratory of Epidemiology and Social Psychiatry, WHO Collaborating Centre, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Milan, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the relationship between poverty and mental illness in order to stimulate debate on future international cooperation programs in mental health.

METHOD:

Epidemiological data in the international literature addressing the issue of material poverty as a risk factor for the development of mental illness and as a prognostic factor for the outcome of mental illness were reviewed.

RESULTS:

The international literature reviewed supports the notion that material poverty is a risk factor for a negative outcome among mentally ill people. In addition, preliminary epidemiological data suggest that service-related variables may be determinants of outcome of mental illnesses. In our view, cooperation with developing countries is a great opportunity to evaluate mental health services in a natural setting.

CONCLUSIONS:

A new generation of programs for international cooperation in mental health is needed, in which knowledge and technology transfer is based on a service-research attitude. Attention should be focused on variables related to the poverty of services that might be linked to the course and outcome of mental illnesses.

PMID:
9114944
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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