Perhaps no result proved so gripping from TRIAD’s survey of NAMI members than the utter impoverishment experienced by individuals with mental illness. Nearly three quarters of individuals with mental illness represented in the survey, of 3,264 responses to the question, had a reported annual income of $20,000 or less. Nearly 20 percent of the individuals with mental illness represented in the survey had an estimated annual income of $5,000 or less.
The poverty stemmed from the rampant unemployment witnessed by this group of individuals and by disability benefits barely able to cover the costs of an extremely modest living. Respondents told of the great difficulty they experienced paying for the medications that were necessary to keep them alive and how often they would forego other counseling and support, because it just wasn’t in the budget.