Kids, Poverty and Mental Health: Hamilton fights back

Poor neighbourhoods show significantly higher vulnerabilities to mental health problems
The Hammond family has trouble making their way to mental health services for their chilren, one of the key issues for helping children and the reason the EDI has become such an important tool.
The Hammond family has trouble making their way to mental health services for their chilren, one of the key issues for helping children and the reason the EDI has become such an important tool. (Denis Davy)

 

A child who lives in poverty is three times more likely to have a mental health problem. Reporter Denise Davy investigates why this happens and what’s being done. Davy’s research was supported with a journalism fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
  • PART ONE – Why kids in poverty are at higher risk of developing mental health problems
  • PART TWO – How Hamilton schools are helping students in lower income neighbourhoods
  • PART THREE – Anxiety: Why so many children in poverty struggle with anxiety
  • PART FOUR – Children of war: Healing immigrant and refugee children
  • PART FIVE – Making Hamilton a better place to raise a child

Poverty can be a powerful predictor of a child’s mental health.

Data released exclusively to CBC Hamilton shows that Hamilton children who live in low income neighbourhoods can be so impacted by poverty-related stressors early in their lives that it can affect their ability to learn in school.

The data shows the rate of impacts in various developmental areas can be as much as 10 times higher in the city’s low income neighbourhoods compared to it’s most wealthy ones.

The data, when combined with a McMaster University study that shows children living in poverty suffer from more mental health problems, illustrates the often devastating impact poverty can have on a child’s mental health and well being.

“Living in poverty is incredibly stressful,” said Michele Bates, mental health lead for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

“What does that do to a child’s sense of safety and well-being on a very foundational level? I think it’s a tremendous stress and strain. The burden is tremendous.”

The data comes from the Early Development Instrument (EDI), a school readiness measurement tool developed in Hamilton which has been used since 2002 to analyze information on more than 5,200 kindergarten students every few years.

 

 

CBC Hamilton article, read more here.



Leave a Reply