CHICAGO — Children living in poverty with mental health
issues may adopt a negative worldview and be marginalized by society, according
to a DePaul University education scholar.
“Our society continues to promote strong negative stigma
around economic need and around mental health issues,” said Erin Mason, an
assistant professor in human services and counseling in DePaul’s College of
“For the child who experiences both, this is a double whammy
and can significantly impact his or her sense of self-worth and belonging,
especially if compared to children who experience neither,” she said.
Additionally, lack of access to quality mental health care
services specifically for children is one of the biggest obstacles for those living
in poverty, said Mason, a former middle school counselor who is president of
the Illinois School Counselor Association.
“Because access to services is problematic, children living
in poverty are at greater risk of experiencing delays or gaps in their mental
health development, having early warning signs of mental health issues
overlooked, having issues left untreated for too long, not treated at all, or
all of the above,” she noted.
Mason will be part of a panel of education practitioners who
will discuss the interconnections between poverty and children’s social and
emotional well-being at a May 2 DePaul College of Education forum titled “Kids
At Risk: The Impact of Poverty on Children’s Mental Health.”
Other panelists include Gregory Jones, principal of Kenwood
High School; Shelby T. Wyatt, school counselor at Kenwood High School; Patricia
Rivera, former elementary school social worker and manager of programs for
homeless students, Chicago Public Schools; and Lissette Guzman, counselor at
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.
The forum runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 314 of the
DePaul Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago. For more information,