Hope for Children

How Does Poverty Affect Children’s Mental Health Issues?

Children’s mental health issues are complex, and many factors impact, cause and contribute to those issues. In a survey of more than 1,200 child support workers, 65 percent of them reported that poverty has a high negative impact on children’s mental health and 60 percent said that poverty has a high negative impact on children’s self-esteem. Of the responses, 11 percent said that kids’ mental health can suffer when there are issues around school and education, and 9 percent mentioned the impact of being a young caregiver.[1]

Poverty can often lead to child labor, which is work that deprives a child of their childhood and dignity and negatively impacts their physical and mental development.[2] The children in places such as Africa and Asia that GFA World helps often fall into these same categories: They may be forced to drop out of school to earn money to combat their family’s poverty or left behind to care for their siblings when their parents leave to find better work.

Dyami was five years old when he was enrolled in GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program. His parents loved and cared for their children. They worked hard to make sure the family had what it needed to survive and be happy, but they struggled to make ends meet. When GFA’s child sponsorship program came into their lives, it was a major relief knowing it would ease some financial strain and meet many of Dyami’s needs.[3]

Through his time with GFA, Dyami learned academic skills and moral values. Unfortunately, six years later, Dyami’s father died in a fatal land dispute and his mother stepped up to support the family. GFA staff also reached out, offering comfort, counsel and provision. But just a few years later, Dyami’s mother also tragically died, leaving him and his siblings as orphans.

Rather than leaving the teenager to struggle in the wake of the tragedy, GFA staff became “guardians,” making sure Dyami had everything he needed to finish his education. With their love and care, he could persevere even when life became extremely difficult. Thanks to them, Dyami can have what his parents would have wanted—hope for a bright future.[4]

GFA helps many other children around the world with overcoming poverty and mental health issues, as they did for Dyami. Showing Jesus’ love through compassion and care to a hurting, confused or frightened child makes a huge difference. Consider joining this effort and donating to GFA World or sponsoring a child. It doesn’t take a lot to change everything for these kids.

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[1] Reason Digital. “The Impact of Poverty on Child Mental Health.” Buttle UK Chances for Children. https://buttleuk.org/news/news-list/impact-of-poverty-on-child-mental-health. October 10, 2019.
[2] “What is Child Labour.” International Labour Organization. https://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang–en/index.htm. Accessed November 7, 2022.
[3] “Bridge of Hope Becomes Orphans ‘Parents’.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/gfaworld-bridge-of-hope-becomes-orphans-parents/. August 2021.
[4] Ibid.