I suspect lots of people stuck in chronic poverty suffer from depression. When we fall apart, when we stop taking care of ourselves or our environment, when we turn to drugs, or criminal behavior. When we just don't give a fuck anymore.
I wonder how often we do this, because being dirt poor can be seriously fucking depressing. I'm not talking about a temporary bout of poverty, or dwelling on the stuff we can't afford to do or own, but the impact of this being all we've ever known. The recurring struggle of finding an affordable place to live, having enough food to eat every single day, having transportation to get where we want to go. Having no evidence to suggest that our lives are ever going to get any better.
It's oppressive and it isn't a condition I can even imagine getting myself out of. I have nothing to work towards, that I honestly believe would change my situation enough to matter. I think the word for that is hopeless, but that is the product of my entire life's experience, and it isn't really conducive to good mental health. Some do better with it than others. Poverty tests people in ways that others have the luxury never to be at risk of failing. To afford the stability and adaptability to have weaknesses and vulnerabilities, as so many human beings do.
It can sound like a mark of privilege to even speak of mental illness, as if it's an affliction of being too comfortable. Really, it's just the diagnosis though, that's the mark of privilege. The poor may not think of it that way, and society may not look at it that way, but it may be far more accurate to say that Major Depression is especially rampant among those trapped in poverty, and that is part of the problem.