Child poverty and mental health linked – Child Gauge 2022


Picture: Radio 786 / FILE

Two-thirds of children in South Africa live in poverty.

This is equivalent to 63% of the country’s child population.

Director of the Child Institute, Professor Shanaaz Matthews was speaking on the release of the latest Child Gauge.

She says that this figure relates to children living in environments where the stress of material insecurity is made worse by poor service delivery, discrimination, and violence.

This as 39% of children live beneath the poverty line in South Africa.

Matthews says that these children and adolescents are of a higher risk of mental health problems, which can increase the likelihood of an intergenerational cycle of poverty, violence, and mental illness.

Meanwhile, Stellenbosch University’s Institute for Life Course Health Research co-director Professor Mark Tomlinson says that interventions for children’s mental health will be better placed in schools, and community structures.

He notes that the programmes must be sustained and adapted to the different stages of development.

Tomlinson says that all children go through stressful periods of transition.


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