The Current Struggle: Unraveling the Effects of Economic Hardship on Mental Health


The term “wellness” encompasses the holistic state of balance across various dimensions, including professional, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, physical, and environmental well-being. Significantly, an individual’s financial situation plays a crucial role in achieving this comprehensive wellness.

In a world marked by economic uncertainties, the profound impact of financial struggles on mental health cannot be overstated. Particularly in the current context of Nigeria, individuals grappling with economic hardship, hunger, and poverty face challenges that extend beyond the visible boundaries of financial woes, permeating into the very fabric of their mental well-being.

This blog post aims to explore the profound effects of economic adversity on mental health, shedding light on the intricate interplay between poverty and mental distress.

The Psychological Toll of Economic Hardship:

In the face of elusive financial stability, individuals frequently become ensnared in a relentless cycle of stress, anxiety, and despair. The ongoing concern about meeting basic needs, particularly prevalent in the current economic climate in Nigeria, coupled with the fear of an uncertain future, forms a fertile ground for the emergence of mental health challenges.

Witnessing grown men expressing vulnerability, even shedding tears in the market due to the rapid escalation of prices for essential items, underscores the severity of the situation. Such experiences exert significant pressure on individuals’ mental well-being, aligning with research findings that consistently establish a robust correlation between economic hardship and elevated levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Hunger and Mental Health:

Hunger, a harsh consequence of poverty, not only affects the physical health of individuals but also takes a toll on their mental well-being. The inability to access nutritious meals can lead to malnutrition, which is intricately linked with cognitive impairments and emotional distress.

The constant struggle for sustenance can lead to feelings of helplessness and desperation, further exacerbating mental health challenges. In today’s Nigerian households, the notion of enjoying “three square meals” has become a distant memory. Instead, the prevailing situation often involves consuming whatever is available, typically falling far short of what could be considered an optimal diet.

This stark reality paints a disheartening picture of the current state of affairs.

Poverty’s Impact on Self-Esteem and Identity:

Living in poverty often comes with societal stigmas and a sense of social exclusion. Individuals facing financial struggles may experience a profound impact on their self-esteem and identity.

The societal judgment and perceptions can lead to feelings of shame, worthlessness, and a diminished sense of self-worth, contributing to the vicious cycle of poverty and mental health struggles.

Family Dynamics and Mental Health:

The effects of economic hardship ripple through family structures, intensifying the strain on relationships. Financial difficulties can give rise to conflicts, marital discord, and strained parent-child relationships. The emotional toll of witnessing loved ones suffer from hunger and poverty can lead to a heightened risk of mental health challenges among family members.

Breaking the Cycle: Addressing Mental Health in Poverty Alleviation:

Recognizing the intricate relationship between economic hardship and mental health is crucial in developing effective strategies for poverty alleviation. Comprehensive approaches that integrate mental health services, financial education, and social support can pave the way for breaking the cycle of poverty and psychological distress.


The effects of economic hardship, hunger, and poverty on mental health are profound and multifaceted. As we navigate the complexities of poverty alleviation, it is imperative to acknowledge the inseparable link between financial struggles and mental well-being.

And like a friend recently crafted in a post, “now is the best time for social networks to aid struggling families.” Through this, and by fostering a holistic approach that addresses both the economic and mental health dimensions, we can work towards building a society where individuals are empowered to overcome adversity and achieve lasting mental wellness.

Stay healthy!