South India Journal of Social Sciences is now an official member of Crossref JGate sgd
Vicious cycle of Poverty and Mental illness : A Review with Special Reference to Scheduled Caste Population


Mental illness
Scheduled Castes


How to Cite

Choudhary, R. (2024). Vicious cycle of Poverty and Mental illness : A Review with Special Reference to Scheduled Caste Population. SOUTH INDIA JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, 22(2 June), 81-91.


India is a developing country and has a large population of Scheduled Castes (SCs). They still only have a limited amount of access to capital assets such agricultural land and non-land assets, or those assets are underproductive. As a result, in terms of household income, level of education, and kind of employment, they continue to represent the lowest social strata. This extreme poverty also intersects with stigma associated with caste and create double psychological burden on this marginalised population. Poverty and mental illness create a vicious cycle that can be difficult to escape. One of the main reasons for SC poverty is the deep-rooted caste system in India, which has led to their social, economic, and political marginalization. Using data from various studies and surveys, the paper reveals that members of SC population in India suffer from poor mental health due to various factors such as discrimination, poverty, lack of access to education and healthcare, and social exclusion. The paper discusses the impact of poverty and discrimination, and lack of access to healthcare services on their mental health. Additionally, the paper explores the role of stigma and cultural attitudes towards mental illness among Scheduled Castes in India. Overall, the paper underscores the urgent need for action to improve the mental health outcomes of Scheduled Castes in India.



Begun, Audrey I. 2012. Alcohol abuse and dependence: The 7% problem. In Social work matters: The power of linking policy and practice. Edited by Elizabeth F. Hoffler and Elizabeth J. Clark. Washington, DC: NASW Press.

Dandona, L.,(2019) The burden of mental disorders across the states of India: The Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2017. Lancet Psychiatry 7(2),148-161.

Desjarlais, R., (1995) World Mental Health: Problems and Priorities in Low-income Countries (Oxford Univ. Press, 1995).

Gupta, A., Coffey, D. (2020) Caste, Religion, and Mental Health in India. Popul Res Policy Rev 39, 1119–1141.

India mental health observatory(2022), Budget for mental health, analysis of union budget 2021-2022.

Kandukuri, D., 2020. Mental health and caste: Society needs to talk about the politics of wellbeing.

Knifton, L., & Inglis, G. (2020). Poverty and mental health: policy, practice and research implications. BJPsych bulletin, 44(5), 193–196.

Matthew Ridley et al., (2020) Poverty, depression, and anxiety: Causal evidence and mechanisms. Science. 370(6522),156-164.

McDaid, S., & Kousoulis, A. (2020). Tackling social inequalities to reduce mental health problems: how everyone can flourish equally. London: Mental Health Foundation.

National Mental Health Survey (2016):

Pandey, S. (2022). Mental health issues: research, policies, and challenges: the indian scenario,. Delhi : National Human Right Commission.

Raghavendra R. H. (2020). Literacy and Health Status of Scheduled Castes in India. Contemporary Voice of Dalit, 12(1), 97–110.

Ransing R, Kar SK, Menon V.( 2022) Mental Health Research in India: New Challenges and the way forward. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine; 44(6):612-614.

Sagar, R.; Dandona, R.; Gururaj, G., et al. (2020)The burden of mental disorders across the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2017. The LancetPsychiatry. 7(2),148-161.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.