Micro finance and mental health

Excellent and timely Globe & Mail article http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/globe-to/microloans-for-mental-health-patients-rolling-out-across-ontario/article2449823/

By some estimates one in five cope with substance abuse or mental illness. For most of us, our work life looms large and provides identity as well as income. Holding a conventional job can be next to impossible for those subject to severe mood swings.

According to the Globe and Mail article today, ‘Joblessness among Canadians with severe disorders is sky high – 70 to 90 per cent, according to CAMH’. We know that working actually contributes to health in a clear and measurable way.

Self employment with its greater autonomy and flexibility can be a much better option.

The pilot micro-credit project run by the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health over the past two years is an attempt to provide another solution.

With spotty work histories, those who chronically suffer with mental health issues and/or substance abuse are poor candidates for convential bank loans.

There are several examples given in the article of recipients of loans who have done exceptionally well and are starting to experience financial independence and the increased self esteem that comes with that.

No word yet on whether the program will continue once the pilot is complete but if these accounts are typical of the results seen, this should both continue and be emulated.



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