According to an analysis of studies, people with poor literacy have higher mental health issues like loneliness, despair, and worry.
According to a study of studies that examined data from nine nations, including India, people with low literacy are more likely to have mental health issues like loneliness, despair, and anxiety. The study is the first to examine the global picture of literacy and mental health, and it was published in the journal Mental Health and Social Inclusion.
Women make up two-thirds of the world's illiterate population, according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK, and they are disproportionately affected by low or no literacy rates.
According to Bonnie Teague from UEA's Norwich Medical School, there are still an estimated 773 million adults worldwide who are illiterate despite literacy rates growing over the last 50 years.
Women are disproportionately impacted by lower literacy rates in emerging nations and those with a history of conflict, according to Teague.
The researchers found that individuals with higher levels of literacy typically experience better social outcomes, including easier access to good jobs, higher wages, and more palatable food and housing options.
They claimed that not being able to read or write sets people back throughout their lives, trapping them in poverty or increasing their likelihood of committing crimes.
In addition, Teague noted, "we know that reduced literacy is associated with poorer health, chronic diseases, and shorter life expectancy."
This is the first study to look at the problem globally, he noted. The potential link between literacy and mental health has been the subject of some studies.
The team examined data from 19 studies that assessed both mental health and literacy. Nearly two million people participated in this research, which was conducted in nine different nations: the US, China, Nepal, Thailand, Iran, India, Ghana, Pakistan, and Brazil.
The researchers evaluated the generally accepted association between these two parameters using data on mental health and literacy.
Across numerous nations, they discovered a significant correlation between literacy and outcomes related to mental health.
As part of her preparation for a doctorate in clinical psychology at UEA, Lucy Hunn, who conducted the review, said, "People with lower literacy experienced greater mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression."
There is a strong correlation, but we can't claim with certainty that bad mental health is caused by inadequate literacy, according to Hunn.
The researchers pointed out that a variety of factors, such as poverty or being in a region with a history of conflict, may have an impact on mental health and also affect literacy.
To prevent last-stage mental health complications, international organizations and concerned national authorities must strategize more deeply in the literacy field and raise awareness of mental health. This will help people stop viewing it as taboo by enabling them to recognize the early signs of mental health problems by providing higher-quality literacy.
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