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The aim of this assignment will be to explore poverty and how it influences peoples understanding of healthcare I will be focussing on mental health clients and welfare benefits I will aim to define poverty discuss the effects it has on my client group and their perception of healthcare For reasons of confidentiality pseudonyms will be used for any client referred to in this assignment Poverty then for most people according to Hallawell Brittle 1995 is a condition to which most of us strive to avoid an unacceptable concept which is far removed from modern day living and only affects 3rd World countries or was from past eras Poverty is a term with negative connotations associated with words such as deprivation and lack Being poor is to lack what others - the comfortable possess It is a stain or stigma on an individuals or social groups identity Brooking Ritter and Thomas 1992 There are two categories of poverty - absolute and relative poverty Both these definitions have an adverse influence on an individuals health Calman 1997 Absolute as defined by Walsh Stephens and More 1999 is basic human needs in terms of shelter clothing and food Anything less than minimum standard needed to live on was said to be below the poverty line and living in absolute poverty Poverty is used here to indicate a fixed and minimum set of basic resources which all individuals are said to require in order to physically sustain life This definition however appears rather narrow in relation to social problems as highlighted by Bephage 1997 who argues that what is considered as basic needs in one society may not always be appropriate in another society because cultural needs differ according to the society lived in Relative poverty which is given as an alternative to absolute according to Bephage 1997 is applied to individuals whose living conditions are far lower than the
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