The current conversation is about Psychological health It may be Britain’s most open and frank of all. We have a greater understanding of conditions like anxiety and depression, duly share supportive social media posts, engage with hashtags like #BeKind to raise awareness and commend others for their courage when exposing mental health struggles.
The benefits of mindfulness apps, yoga, meditation, and connecting with nature to improve mental health are now all-too-normal conversation at a dinner party. The stigma around antidepressant medications is slowly being dismantled. This is the way it should be.
Except… there is one area in which we still fall short, and that is the recognition that a collapsing economic system and decades of failed politics are keeping our collective mental health in disrepair.
How? Well, research shows us that poverty and mental ill health have a symbiotic relationship. If you are poor, you are more likely to develop mental health problems. In fact, children and adults in the lowest income group 20 percent are two to three times To experience the mental ill health of those in the highest echelons.
unequal societies have Higher overall levels Mental ill health – and nothing screams inequality quite like the current cost-of-living crisis.
While oil and gas companies are making huge profits And passing billions to its shareholders, the government’s plan to help families under severe stress comes in the form of Huge debts imposed Ordinary people will bear the burden for years to come. Instead of funding this help by unexpected tax On unearned profits, we will pay the price.
The cost of living crisis It will have a serious impact on the mental health of the people most affected by it, including children. If your salary doesn’t cover your rent and bills, or if you’re always worried about being able to provide for your kids, or if you’re in debt, or live in a cold house, or can’t heat your meals, you barely get past the aging of one paycheck to another – it all adds up. . Diagnosing the anxiety, sadness, and desperation that fuels it as an individual problem or as a personal “issue” seems woefully short-sighted.
As long as we continue to accept pervasive and entrenched inequality, we will all suffer. If we are to get serious about tackling mental illness, we need to address systemic grievances like racismand the class system, social economics and perverse ideology that perpetuate the idea that the poor “Just not working hard enough”.
As I wrote in Editor’s message for this weekI’ve spent a large part of my career writing about my mental health. Hope it helped at least two people. But I have not explored them in a broader context, nor have I taken into account – in my particular case – the impact of poverty, the benefit system, austerity, homophobia, or a culture that victimizes women and rejects violence against them.
Psychological health Feel Personal, but it does not exist in a vacuum. Focusing on the individual does nothing to address some of the potential root causes.
Sometimes I feel like taking care of my mental health under late capitalism, while the cost-of-living crisis for everyone but the richest 1 percent is a losing game.
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It doesn’t matter how many Headspace meditations I do, the truth is I still can’t buy a house (but I Can Paying mortgages to landlords who have so many homes that they can’t live in all of them). It’s a small example, but this feeling of instability – of insecurity due to An eviction can happen without error at any time – Real and incredibly relevant to mental health.
I do not argue that everything is hopeless, or that we have no individual responsibility for our health and well-being. There is a balance. There is hope, too—but it stems from challenging structural inequality and calling for real social and economic change. We need to make a decisive deviation from the well-charted path of unfettered free market capitalism or piling money in the pockets of the rich In pursuit of “growth” if we are to make a real difference in people’s lives and well-being.
It seems very appropriate to keep pretending that mental health is the entirety of the individual’s problem – something on the inside they – As we close our eyes to the bigger picture in this country. With people who struggle to survive under The biggest pressure in living standards in a centuryIt is disingenuous to deny the impact of the economy and society that seems to benefit only those who actually have more than enough.