Cash transfer programmes are direct payments of cash to people living in poverty. Such programmes often target families with the aim of reducing poverty and inequality while also developing the human capital of children as they grow up.
Although there are many other types of anti-poverty interventions, cash transfers are the most popular form of targeted anti-poverty programme in low- and middle-income countries.
Different cash transfer programmes have been designed in many different ways. For example, there are different ways to make payments, as via bank transfer, cheque, or vouchers. Some programmes are also designed so that payments are only made when the family adheres to certain conditions (such as a certain rate of school attendance or participation in child health visits).
There is emerging evidence that programmes can have a positive impact on a young person’s mental health. This could be due to a wide variety of factors, not least changes in parenting behaviours and skills, a reduction in daily stressors.
Overall, however, not much is known about the mechanisms by which cash transfer programmes improve mental health for young people, nor about how they could be designed to best promote mental health amongst the young and ultimately improve their life chances.