Please Note: Only COVID-19 vaccinated adults and children over 5 can attend the Clinic.

How Are the Children?

Every year the Child Development Council of South Australia provides an annual report to parliament detailing achievements and focus during the reporting period and in accordance with statutory requirements. The 2021-22 report has been tabled showing that while many children and young people are thriving others are less fortunate. Proportionally more children and young people lived in the most disadvantaged socio-economic circumstances in 2020, when compared to the national rate and South Australia has the second highest rate of all states and territories for children and young people in out-of-home and Aboriginal children and young people entering out-of-home care during 2019-2020.

Most young South Australians faring well is to be celebrated but does not discount those less fortunate as indicated by the subtitle of the report ‘Every young South Australian counts.’ Knifton and Inglis (2020) note the recursive relationship between poverty and poor mental health through social stress, stigma and trauma which results in unemployment or underemployment and fragmentation of social relationships which feeds the vicious cycle. Studies from the most deprived areas in Glasgow demonstrate that inequalities in mental health appear early and become more pronounced with time. They report on a cohort study which showed that ‘7.3% of 4-year-olds in the most deprived areas of Glasgow were rated by their teacher as displaying ‘abnormal’ social, behavioural, and emotional difficulties, compared with only 4.1% in the least deprived areas. By age 7, the gap between these groups had widened substantially: 14.7% of children in the most deprived areas were rated as having ‘abnormal’ difficulties, compared with 3.6% of children in the least deprived.’ This pattern has been reported internationally.

The author recommends a multilevel response by mental health practitioners in practice, policy, advocacy, and research across three broad areas. These include the reinvigoration of social psychiatry and exertion of influence on public policy, a recognition that mental health stigma does not sit in isolation and to recognise that multiple stigmatizing identities intersect and respond to poverty as part of assessments and care. It requires attention to all three to address a problem that hurts our children.

Knifton, L. and  Inglis, G. Poverty and mental health: policy, practice and research implications BJPsych Bulletin (2020) 44, 193–196, doi:10.1192/bjb.2020.78


©Copyright Bower Place 2022

Free weekly
director’s notes
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

By subscribing you agree to receive marketing communications from Bower Place. You can unsubscribe at any time or contact us to have your details deleted from our database.