I’m poor and depressed (causes & 3 coping strategies)


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Page last updated: 20/10/2022

I’m poor and depressed (causes & 3 coping strategies)

In this guide, “ I’m poor and depressed” will be explored with a brief description of depression and it’s symptoms, the association between poor and depression, understand what evokes the feeling of poor, causes of financial depression, treatment of depression and some of the questions concerning the topic.

I’m poor and depressed

If you are poor and depressed then this can be due to the following reasons:

  • Dissatisfaction with life in general and job
  • Comparison with others and one’s past
  • Take toll of physical health
  • Engage in risky financial behaviour
  • Overly negative thoughts and feeling of impoverished
  • Underpaid in comparison to others


Depression is believed to be the key cause of disability around the world. It is a mood disorder characterised by the feeling of persistent and prolonged low mood, sadness, loss of interest in pleasurable activities: anhedonia, feeling down and low throughout the day, weeks and months. 

Although the feeling of sadness and loss of pleasure is familiar and a normal feeling to every one of us, depression is something that persists and causes severe impairment in an individual’s life. It can affect people from any age group ranging from children, adolescent, adult and geriatric population.

The duration of depressive episodes differs and varies from each individual wherein, for some cases, it lasts for about 2 weeks while in others it might persist for months and years.

Signs and symptoms of Depression 

Some sign of depression are:

  • Sustained and prolonged depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities or those that one enjoys doing
  • Loss of sexual drives
  • Fluctuations in body weight
  • Disruption in sleep cycle resulting in insomnia and hypersomnia
  • Muscle agitation, restlessness and twitches
  • Disruption and disturbance in speech
  • Fatigue and low energy in performing daily task
  • A feeling of worthlessness and excessive guilt
  • Recurrent thoughts on death, suicide and attempts for suicide.
  • Impairment in concentration and attention

Poor and Depression

Depression is a complicated condition caused by a wide range of factors and often interplay of a wide range of factors. In recent years, it was found that poverty can also cause depression and is linked to a different mental health-related problem. 

A research study has revealed that Americans who are in poverty experience depression and the rate is significantly higher than those who are not in such a state of destitute. The underlying reason for it is believed to be the association between a person’s financial situation and the state of their mind.

Studies done by researchers have suggested the link between socioeconomic status of an individual with their DNA and susceptibility to depression. Thus, those belonging to lower socioeconomic status and lower economic background experience change and modification in their gene that increases or elevates the fight or flight response associated with the particular part of the brain. 

The link between economic status and depression is not grounded on the myth that money can bring in happiness and satisfies all the wants, rather the satisfaction and contentment that an individual experienced with their economic status is a protective factor.

Since stress is evoked by situations wherein there is a threat to the survival and life of the person, and not having enough money to sustain oneself triggers stressful responses. And when such feelings and symptoms persist for a period of time, it can be overwhelming and thus, increases the risk of depression.

Not being in a poverty like situation doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be any effect on one’s mental health. A subtle financial strain an individual experiences can have a severe effect on the mental health of the individual such as losing a job, remaining unemployed and apprehension. 

“ It is not just how rich you are that matters, it’s how rich you feel”, was one of the most important and significant discoveries of economists over the last few decades. They found out that it’s simply the feeling of being poor and in the destitute state that makes matters worse. When the individual constantly feels poor, they don’t derive much satisfaction from their job and life, it often results in poor choices and takes a toll on one’s health. Thus, the importance lies in the feeling of being rich and poor.

I’m poor and depressed (causes & 3 coping strategies)

What evokes the feeling of being poor?

Being poor and rich is not necessarily determined by the income generated by a person rather it is influenced by the comparison we make, be it with oneself or with others.

Comparing with others

People who feel poor and rich are determined mainly by the comparison they made with circumstance and with people around them. When a comparison is made with others, it results in a problem since it makes it hard for them to feel rich. There is always someone who is earning more than you, living a better life than you and is more privileged thus, the moment we start comparing with others better than us, it makes us feel poor and results in all kinds of problems of discontentment and unsatisfaction. 

Comparing with one’s past 

It’s not always about the comparison we make with others, at times it is about the comparison we make with life now and that of the past. Doing so can result in severe discontentment and consequently feel financially depressed. 

These are the two major reasons behind the feeling of discontentment, poor and low mood. With the comparison we make, there are associated consequences that can affect you in different ways.

Consequences of feeling poor

The feeling of poor and depressed can affect the individual in a wide range. It not only results in dissatisfaction but also leads to poor decision making and affects both physical and mental health.

Less satisfaction derived from life and job 

When people feel themselves in poverty and poor, they feel less satisfied. More than that, when they feel they are underpaid in comparison to others, they derive less satisfaction from their job. 

A research study has shown that when employees feel they are less paid in comparison to others performing the tasks, they feel less satisfied and are unhappy with their job.

Risky financial behaviour

When people feel depressed and poor financially, there is a high chance and likelihood that they will engage in unwise and risky behaviour related to finance. 

They started imbibing risky behaviour when the individual feels depressed financially.

Health Effect

The feeling of being poor and actually being poor takes a toll on one’s physical health. It was found that people belonging to well-off and affluent social class are healthier compared to those belonging to lower job status. 

Those who belong to lower job status consistently engage in risky health behaviour such as not exercising, smoking and suffer from other physical illnesses.

Coping with the feeling of being poor and depressed

Simply knowing that there is a poor feeling within doesn’t stop you from feeling it or gets better. Unless we stop drawing a comparison with others and feeling uncontented, there is no cure for the feeling of depression as a result of poorness. 

There are different ways or strategies one can follow to counter the feeling of destitute and poverty. Some of them are:

Changing perspective

One reason for feeling poor is because of the constant comparison with others who are richer, wealthier and better. It is only when there is a shift in perspective that one feels better. 

Improving financial future

To get rid of the financial depression, one way is to take firm interest in building your financial plan and finances for the future by earning more, clearing the debts and dues and following the path to financial independence. Investing wisely can also help in getting out of the financial depression.

Feeling rich 

Despite the earning, the belief and feeling rich can help the person get over with the money depression. Investing a share from the earnings to charity can make a person feel richer and wealthier moreover the joy of giving is priceless. 

Studies have also shown that giving and spending money can make the person feel much happier and content. 

Seeking help

There is no wrong in seeking help and support from near one and dear one when in need. One reason behind the constant feeling of poor and wealthy is at times failing to invest properly and manage it. Thus, seeking for some financial guidance can help the individual cope up with financial depression. 

Remembering that it all comes down to attitude

Irrespective of the income one earned and their spending power, to cope up with financial depression, it is best and ideal to feel grateful and thankful for the things around and gifted with. 

Expressing gratitude floods in all the positive emotions thus, to cope up with the money and financial depression, expressing a sense of gratitude and being thankful can help manage it better.

These are some of the ways of managing financial depression and feeling poor and depressed. Thus, to make yourself feel wealthier and richer is to remember that wealth is measured not only in terms of money and number rather by the people you are surrounded with and every little thing that brings in joy and pleasure. The more the person expresses and reflects on the positivity around, the richer they feel.

FAQs: I’m poor and depressed

Does being poor make you depressed?

Yes, poverty is associated with the feeling of depression, psychological distress, suicidal ideation and other anxiety disorders.

What is the #1 cause of depression?

LIfe events including long term unemployment, abusive environment, long term isolation and loneliness are associated with depression.

What does it mean to be prone to depression?

Prone to depression means the vulnerability or susceptibility to depression such as loss of someone special and close, life stressors, genetic disposition etc.

What age has the highest rate of depression?

Depression is the highest and most prevalent in the age group of 18-25.


In this guide, “ I’m poor and depressed” was explored with a brief description of depression and it’s symptoms, association between poor and depression, understanding what evokes the feeling of poor, causes of financial depression, treatment of depression and some of the questions concerning the topic.

Internal links for more information




Livingston, A. (2020). Advertiser Disclosure How Feeling Poor Hurts You – and How to Stop It. Money Crashers. https://www.moneycrashers.com/stop-feeling-poor/

Truong, K. (2018). Here’s How Being Broke Can Impact Your Mental Health. refinery 29. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/being-poor-mental-health-link

Williams, G. (2014). 7 Steps to Defeat Money Depression. US News. https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/08/06/7-steps-to-defeat-money-depression