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Mona Silavi is a human and women’s rights activist from the Ahwaz region in Iran. She obtained her bachelor in psychology and specialized in children and adolescence psychology at Damascus University, faculty of psychology and education. She holds a master degree in good governance and human rights in MENA region from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. She started her activism in Damascus as member of Ahwazi Arab student association. Mona Silavi is a Project Officer at the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and is the coordinator for topics concerning freedom of religion and belief. She is also a spokesperson of the Al-Ahwaz Democratic Solidarity Party (DSPA). Since 2014 Ms Silavi lives in Belgium as a political refugee
This podcast is about the relations between poverty and the environment and mental health.
The environment has direct and indirect effects on mental health. Individuals in a safe environment can expand their possibilities and use their mental ability for positive changes in life. In contrast, when people live in underdeveloped countries with a high level of poverty, their brain orients most of its energy towards trying to survive, this situation limiting the individual’s ability for creativity.
Individuals who experience poverty, particularly early in life or for an extended period, are at risk of a host of adverse health and developmental outcomes throughout their life.
We are under the influence of everything around us. Our environment affects our internal motivation and our immune system. Poverty in childhood is associated with lower school achievement; worse cognitive, behavioral, and attention-related outcomes; higher rates of delinquency, depressive and anxiety disorders; and higher rates of almost every psychiatric disorder in adulthood. Poverty affects the brain, stressful and traumatic life events shape it, too.
The following sentence may seem strange, but we should think about the circle of poverty that reproduces itself through a poor environment. Actually, poverty not only limits the access to clean water and food but it results from these limited services.
Lack of access to water and food limit people’s ability to work and study. When an individual or a community have to walk hours to access water or they become sick due to polluted water then the education becomes their last priority. Lack of security also maintains poverty. For example, if people keep losing the crops and food in farms due to robbery, they stop investing in their farms, this situation keeping them in poverty.
One hundred million people are estimated to become affected by poverty due to climate change. All the mentioned factors will contribute to the rise in poverty and mental illness.