According to a report that was released by the Center for Disease Control last month, suicides in America are on the rise. The report shows the increase in suicides for Americans, which often seems to be a male-dominated tragedy in this country, had a 30% increase in the United States since 1999. When one looks at the mental well-being of this country, many issues people face often draw back to wealth. Could it be possible that there might be some sort of correlation between the wealth gap and the mental health of Americans living in poverty?
“The challenges that adults face are made more difficult if they are living in poverty,” a report by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states regarding the mental health of Americans below the poverty line in 2015. The report shows that adults 26 or older living below the poverty line were more likely to experience serious mental illnesses. When race and ethnicity are brought into play, the situation becomes even more disturbing.
Socioeconomic status plays a huge role in one’s ability to survive and when one looks at statistics in regards to who is affected by their status in this country, the correlation between wealth and happiness. In 2014, 39% of Black youth and 33% of Latino youth were below the poverty line as opposed to white youth whose percentage was 12, according to the American Psychological Association.
“Communities are often segregated by (socioeconomic status), race, and ethnicity,” says the APS. “These communities commonly share characteristics: low economic development; poor health conditions; low levels of educational attainment; Low SES has consistently been implicated as a risk factor for many of these problems that plague communities.”
Low-income neighborhoods that have little access to the opportunities found in wealthier communities, often do not have the ability to obtain healthy lifestyles or tend to their mental health because they are trying to escape poverty. The New York Times found that for every white family that holds $100, black families just hold $5.04.
Whites make up more than 70% of the U.S. population, yet, suicide rates among black youth are on the rise. African-American children are now twice as likely to commit suicide compared to white youth, according to the May article in the Washington Post.
What can society do to demolish the wealth gap and remove the minorities of this country from poverty? In 2009, the University of Michigan found that one in every three African American children and one in every four Latino children live in poverty in the U.S. That is twice the rate for white children in the United States. As a nation, how can we stay happy?