Date of Graduation

Spring 2020


Master of Science in Counseling


Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education

Committee Chair

Joseph Hulgus


The ultimate purpose of this study is to provide insight and education to mental health clinicians, politicians and the general public of the numerous effects poverty has on mental health, in addition to the most beneficial ways to combat those insidious effects. The specific barriers met by individuals of low socioeconomic status severely affect psychological and physical health, as well as social and environmental relationships, which therefore diminish overall quality of life. The aim of this study is to examine the effectiveness of implementing a collaborative mental health approach for low income individuals on length of engagement in services and levels of depression, anxiety, and overall quality of life. There was a total of 447 participants, which consisted of 57.49% females (n = 257) and 42.51% males (n = 190). Participants were placed into one of three Treatment Groups based on their current level of care. Treatment Group 1 consisted of those who only had a case worker, case manager or social worker. Treatment Group 2 consisted of those who had a case worker, case manager or social worker and a psychiatrist or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Treatment Group 3 consisted of those who had a case worker, case manager or social worker, a psychiatrist or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and a therapist, counselor or psychotherapist. Results suggest that daily living (DLA-20) scores of overall functional ability tend to be higher, on average, within Treatment Group 3 than the other two treatment groups. Interestingly, depression was higher in Treatment Group 3 than the other two treatment groups, on average, but they also saw the fastest decline in scores of depression. The combination of therapy, psychiatry and case management services has demonstrated an overall improvement in daily living abilities with enhanced treatment duration. A combination of services might be necessary to address the unique needs of clients of low SES in an attempt to lessen or preclude the barriers that may prevent optimal quality of life.


mental health, socioeconomic status, quality of life, integrated care, biopsychosocial impact, depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety

Subject Categories

Community Psychology | Counseling | Counseling Psychology | Counselor Education | Economic Policy | Education Policy | Family, Life Course, and Society | Health Policy | Health Psychology | Inequality and Stratification | Medical Humanities | Medicine and Health | Other Psychology | Place and Environment | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Quantitative Psychology | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Rural Sociology | Social Policy | Social Psychology | Social Welfare | Sociology | Theory and Philosophy


© Tyler Z. Tooley

Open Access