Monday, July 15, 2024

Increasing mental health issues amongst the rich and affluent class!

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It is often assumed that people with money have everything they could ever want and therefore should be happy and content. This is a discussion that the founder of Madhuram Charitable Trust often have with many people, including many youngsters who tend to equate being rich with being happy. However, this is not always the case. In fact, there is a growing body of research which shows that there is an increasing trend of mental health issues amongst many people belonging to the rich and affluent class.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to mental health problems in this population group. While people of all age groups are vulnerable to these challenges, those belonging to the younger age group, typically teens or just older, are more at a risk of mental health issues. The key reason for this is the pressure to succeed. The moneyed are often under a lot of pressure to perform at a higher level, both in their personal and professional lives. This pressure to perform well can ultimately lead to stress, anxiety, and depression, especially in the absence of adequate support and care.

Of course, there are many other factors as well that contribute to mental health issues. Isolation is one such factor. People with money often tend to have a lot of superficial relationships, but they may lack meaningful connections with others. This is especially true in today’s age of social media when connections in the virtual world are more dominant over relations in the real physical world. Behind many wealthy lifestyles lies suffering and pain. Riches may provide for a privileged education and upbringing, but children in vastly wealthy families often grow up feeling isolated and unloved. This isolation can lead to loneliness, depression, and other mental health problems.

Then, there is the fear of appearing weak. More often than not, people with money may be reluctant to seek help for mental health problems because they fear being seen as weak or failing. This as is obvious, again comes down to one’s real or visualised image in society. Such a mental state can prevent them from getting the help they need.

Some studies show that anxiety suffered by children in wealthy families is 20-30% higher than it is among the less affluent. Moreover, children from affluent families are also more prone to substance and alcohol abuse. This is the combined result of resources as well as the lack of adequate parental supervision.

The impact of mental health problems on the rich and affluent class can be significant. As a result of the above-mentioned factors, many among the rich are at an increased risk of developing mental health problems, which can lead to financial problems, relationship problems, and even suicide. In fact, mental health reasons are among the leading causes of suicides, not just in India but globally. If successful celebrities or actors commit suicide despite having the world at their feet, we can imagine their mental state that leads them to the extreme step.

In addition, while people with money may have access to more resources, they may not know how or be in a position to use the resources effectively. For instance, they may have the resources to access the best healthcare, but they may not know how to find the right therapist.

The experts that the trustee interact with over the course of her work say there are many things that can be done to address the issue of increasing mental health problems amongst the rich and affluent class. These include raising awareness about the issue. Most people do not take mental health problems very seriously. Many don’t even realise it. However, mental health problems are a very real and serious issue and can affect anyone, regardless of one’s social or financial status, gender or even age. Many times, people are not aware that mental health problems can also affect the rich and affluent. Similarly, providing support through support groups and other resources can help in alleviating the challenge.

Mental health problems are a serious issue. As a society, it is our collective responsibility to treat them like one. As is the case with any other health problems, adequate support and care can make a huge difference even in cases related to mental health problems. This is something we as a responsible society must promote and support!

(The author SHRADDHA MALPANI SOPARKAR is the founder of MADHURAM CHARITABLE TRUST)

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