Kids, Poverty and Mental Health: Building community solutions

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By Denise Davy

Elizabeth Upper loads a bag of food into her grocery cart at the McQuesten food bank. Living on social assistance with seven people to feed makes coming here a necessity.

“I’d never be able to get by,” says Upper, whose five children range in age from six to 17.

 Her children’s mental and physical health problems make for a long list: epilepsy, hearing problems, asthma, cataracts. Plus they all have learning disabilities. She’s also dealing with her own health issue – eczema so extreme she has to wear two set of gloves.

“If I get near water at all they turn bright red,” she says, tugging on an oversized plastic glove that covers a cotton one.

Upper is only 36 but there’s a weariness about her that makes her seem like someone much older, someone worn down by poverty. She covers her mouth when she talks, self conscious of her decayed teeth which she can’t afford to have fixed.

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Article and image source: CBC Hamilton

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