- The impact of poverty on daily living was assessed for twenty-two mental health consumers using qualitative in-depth interviews. Consumers reported considerable difficulty meeting basic needs, such as clothing, shoes and personal care items. A majority reported running out of money before the end of each month. Respondents used strategies including careful budgeting, borrowing and employment to cope with poverty. Analysis indicated that the poverty experienced by respondents worked directly against participation in meaningful activities and their ability to build and sustain social relationships. Moreover, poverty directly contributed to stigma experienced by respondents. Findings suggest that a failure to recognize poverty as a key mental health policy issue will continue to constrain efforts to facilitate consumer empowerment and social integration.