Poverty and Mental Illness on #bellletstalk day


People with mental illness often live in chronic poverty. Conversely, poverty can be a significant risk factor for poor physical and mental health. The relationship between poverty and mental illness is both straightforward and complex in its pervasive reach. Understanding this broader context is key to addressing poverty in order to promote mental health and support the recovery of persons with mental illness.

Poverty Stats and Facts

  • 1 in 5 Ontarians within a given year experience mental illness (Offord, 1996)
  • 35% of ODSP clients have a mental illness (Ontario, Ministry ofCommunity and Social Services, 2006)
  • 14% of working Ontarians live in poverty (Statistics Canada, 2001 Census)
  • 21% of persons with disabilities in Ontario live in poverty (Canadian Council on Social Development, Urban Poverty Data)
  • Ontario is the province with the largest share of food bank recipients: 330,491 (Hunger Counts, 2006)
  • 1 in 5 people with a disability work for low pay (Statistics Canada, 2001 Census)
  • The current minimum wage of $8 an hour keeps a full-time worker $3,700 below the poverty line.
  • 275,317 persons in Ontario with a serious mental illness are unemployed (Statistics Canada, Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2.1, 2003)

Source: https://ontario.cmha.ca/public_policy/poverty-and-mental-illness/