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Mental ramifications of life on minimum wage or less

7:29 PM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For the past week, our Consumer Reporter David Williams has lived life on minimum wage. Through his experiences, we've shown you how to save money, how to plan a menu for four on $100 a week and how to take advantage of public transportation.

But, low income living has impacts beyond just financial ones. Thursday, David explored the psychological toll of working to rise above the wage.

Mary Shell has seen a lot, especially mentally in the little more than three years that Jacksonville has been home.

"I'm grateful to have some place to stay," Shell said.

She is studying massage therapy at school, but she is between jobs.

"If you can live on nothing per hour, you can live on seven, whatever it is, per hour," Shell explained. "I believe in God, seriously. So, I had to learn to calm down and be patient because one thing that I was reminded of is he still sustains me."


While faith sustains her, the struggle takes a toll, mentally.

"I went through that down stage," Shell reflected. "People think you're feeling sorry for yourself, but it's ... I can't even describe what it feels like."

She described her worst moment to First Coast News reporter David Williams.

"My lowest moment?" She asked. "Not understanding, because you wonder, well, why?"

Shell went on as she described what that was like "I have come here plenty of times and just screamed and cried and just go to sleep."

The World Health Organization said depression affects people worldwide, regardless of income.

More Information: World Health Organization detailed explaination on Depression around the world.

"After you go through the stage of depression, there is a level of appreciation," Shell said.

After Williams' long transportation journey and week of low-wage living, that level of gratitude slapped me in the face.

"Let me tell you, I have a new appreciation for everything that I have. That I am able to live with everything that I have," Williams said on his walk to work. "I appreciate it a whole lot more now."

First Coast News

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