You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Child poverty affects mental health: study

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/05/2017

Poverty is seriously affecting the mental health and wellbeing of Kiwi children and the government needs to address the issue, according to a new report.

A literature review by Child Poverty Action Group and the New Zealand Psychological Society has found the combined effects of low incomes, high living costs and poor housing conditions can lead to serious illness for youths.

There's also concern the effect of these factors may go unnoticed until the damage is severe.

The review - released on Thursday - calls for the government to introduce policies which support families with young children to address issues at the root of the problem.

"The evidence strongly suggests that the incidence of mental health conditions among children and adolescents can be reduced by addressing severe and persistent poverty, particularly during the early years of a child's life," it said.

New Zealand's mental health system was being overwhelmed by increasing demand, the report's author, clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Auckland Kerry Gibson, said.

"It is time to stop putting the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff as a solution," Dr Gibson said.

"We need policies to support families with young children to ensure that they grow up healthy and happy."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon