Low socio-economic status, in terms of material standard of living, is consistently associated with higher rates of depression. Recent research also shows that people from low-socioeconomic backgrounds have worse depression treatment outcomes.
Contrary to what many think, the adverse effect of low socioeconomic status on depression isn't just about access to quality mental health care.
In the new study, depression patients in low socioeconomic backgrounds had lower recovery rates even when receiving the same quality of care as everyone else.
Why Depression Patients from Low Socioeconomic Backgrounds Tend to Have Worse Treatment Outcomes
There are many other factors that could hinder someone of a low socioeconomic status from recovering quickly from depression. These people are typically low-income earners with a lower level of education and members of minority populations. Some are even unemployed, which can negatively affect one's mental health.
All the factors are intertwined, so it's not enough to isolate access to quality health care as the only cause of worse treatment outcomes among this demographic.
Case scenario: you're unemployed, knees deep in debt, managing the stress of juggling between multiple side jobs, with no idea how you'll pay the next month's rent. If this is what you go home to after receiving depression treatment, it's not hard to see why the resullts aren't forthcoming as expected.
"If you're going home to a wealthy neighborhood with highly educated parents or spouse, then you're arguably in a much better environment for the treatment to be effective than if you're going to a poor neighborhood with other problems," said Jeffery Mills, the lead researcher.
Facts and Figures from the Research
The research team randomly selected 665 patients seeking treatment for depression. In the trial, each patient had equal access to quality treatment without any barriers like health insurance or income.
Results showed that:
- Unemployed patients experienced a 6.6% less improvement than those who were employed.
- Non-white patients had 11.3% less improvement than whites.
- Patients having income in the 25th percentile had 4.8% less improvement than those in the 75th percentile.
- Patients without a college degree had 9.6% less improvement than college graduates.
- By combining all the factors, unemployed non-white patients with income in the 25th percentile and no degree had a staggering 26% less improvement than those on the opposite side of the spectrum.
How Can We Help?
We can see that each of these socioeconomic factors, when acting alone, can affect depression. And it's worse for patients who fall into all the demographics.
At Hope Mental Health, we do our best to provide comprehensive care by evaluating your unique situation to determine the right treatment plan.
And to make assessibility easier for you, we offer telehealth services so you can reach us from the comfort of your home.
Contact us today. Let's talk.