Money, Social Relationships and the Sense of Self: The Consequences of an Improved Financial Situation for Persons Suffering from Serious Mental Illness
Several studies have indicated a co-occurrence between mental problems, a bad economy, and social isolation. Medical treatments focus on reducing the extent of psychiatric problems. Recent research, however, has highlighted the possible effects of social initiatives. The aim of this study was to examine the relation between severe mental illness, economic status, and social relations. Method: a financial contribution per month was granted to 100 individuals with severe mental illnesses for a 9-month period. Assessments of the subjects were made before the start of the intervention and after 7 months’ duration. A comparison group including treatment as usual only was followed using the same instruments. Significant improvements were found for depression and anxiety, social networks, and sense of self. No differences in functional level were found. Social initiatives may have treatment and other beneficial effects and should be integrated into working contextually with persons with severe mental illnesses.