Are you feeling more overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious than normal?
If yes, you are not alone.
The mental health crisis around the globe is real. And if you have just been reading about it in the news, you are at a real risk of missing crucial information. While mental health has become a hot topic of discussion in the present world, it would be right to say that most people lack a clear understanding of how serious and damaging the situation is at a personal, societal, and global level.
As per a report by Lancet, about one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of mental illness, causing a burden of US$ 1 trillion on the global economy. Every one in five Americans suffers from mental disorders every year.
Year after year, month after month, more and more people around us are suffering from mental health issues like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and much more. But have you ever stopped to think why? Why are mental health issues on the rise?
From the increasing pressure to be perfect to the hustle culture that looks down on resting altogether and the stress of a post-pandemic lifestyle, multiple reasons contribute to why mental health issues are on the rise. Let us dive deeper into what reasons are causing the rise of mental health issues and decipher ways to address these concerns and look after our overall well-being.
Why Are Mental Health Issues On a Rise?
1. Stressful work environments
It is no secret that workplaces are extremely stressful environments. From unending deadlines to unhealthy competition among co-workers and personal challenges – workplaces often end up taking a brutal toll on people’s mental health.
As per a survey conducted by Mental Health America (MHA) of over 5000 employees, 83% of people reported feeling emotionally drained at work. Another 71% of people strongly agreed that workplaces tend to take a toll on a person’s mental health and well-being.
This is why a toxic workplace environment and glorification of unhealthy work-life balance can be a definite answer as to why are mental health issues on the rise.
2. Social isolation
Over the past decade, technology has altered the way humans interact with each other. While the Internet has transformed the world into a global village and transcended geographical boundaries to bring people closer, it has also increased social isolation among people.
As per a study by the University of Arizona, people with smartphones are much more likely to feel lonely and depressed. Heavy social media usage was three times more likely to make people feel isolated and aloof than casual use.
A constant access to technology in the form of the Internet and smartphones has prevented people from forming deep personal relations. For most people, the most usual way to spend their free time is through doom-scrolling their social media feeds. These tendencies can cause an increase in feelings of loneliness which can eventually cause a rise in mental health issues.
3. Financial strain
Money and mental health are very closely interconnected. As the world grapples with surviving a crushing pandemic that has taken lives and livelihoods, the economic security of most households has taken a hit. With companies laying off thousands of employees to fears of an upcoming economic recession, financial worries caused immense stress and anxiety among people. This financial strain is one of the most important reasons as to why are mental health issues on the rise.
Worrying about money has been found to increase sleep problems and affect people’s personal and societal relationships. Additionally, the inability to afford basic necessities or mental health treatments like therapy can cause immense damage to people’s mental health.
Stigma, discrimination, lack of understanding, and prejudice against people having mental health issues is the primary reason obstructing people from seeking proper help for their issues. The pressure of being called out in society, lack of adequate employment opportunities, and having trouble finding decent housing or schooling facilities have long obstructed people from taking steps toward their mental well-being.
Less than half of people suffering from mental illnesses seek help. Even among those who do, people end up waiting for a decade to call for help. This lack of access to treatment and support due to stigma is another reason contributing to the question of why are mental health issues on the rise.
5. Lack of access to proper medical care.
Barriers to proper mental healthcare for people in the form of affordability, lack of mental health experts, and inclusive services are other reasons causing the rise of mental illnesses around the world.
Even with financial assistance and insurance, the cost of mental health care in most countries is through the roof, making it inaccessible to most of the public. The lack of adequate mental health professionals in developing countries is also a cause of concern.
How to safeguard your well-being during this rise in mental health issues?
1. Limit technology, social media, and news consumption.
Being socially aware and remaining up-to-date is good. However, being consumed by the toxic cycle of social media and news can eventually take a toll on your mental health, thus feeding the rise of mental health issues around the globe.
To help yourself reset, take frequent breaks from this social media and news cycle. Take conscious steps to detach yourself from the Internet world every once in a while. You can begin by letting go of the habit of checking your phones first thing in the morning. This way, you will be able to start your day without your mood getting affected by what is going on in the online world.
2. Do things you enjoy.
In between the stress of what we are supposed to do, we often neglect what we want to do. A great way to keep your spirits high when the world around you is in turmoil is to do what your heart wants. Try to find and do something that genuinely makes you feel happy. This could mean reading or re-reading your favorite books, binge-watching your favorite shows, baking, painting, or just lying there for a while. The only criterion is that it should make you feel fulfilled and happy from within. You can also experiment with new hobbies like journaling and planting if you feel more adventurous in your pursuits.
3. Find your own personal way of coping.
The rise of mental health issues worldwide will catch up with each person in forms like burnout, emotional exhaustion, and stress almost every now and then. Finding personalized and safe coping methods is the best way to get through such tough times. Experiment with healthy techniques like journaling, meditation, deep breathing, exercising, and more. This way, when the stress eventually reaches you, you will have something that helps you calm down and brings you back to yourself after a hard day.
4. Use therapy as a resource.
In the common mainstream belief, therapy is often regarded as the last remedy. It is something that is only useful to those who can’t get out of bed or get anything thing done. You are supposed to pass an imaginary line of pain and have it much worse to ask for proper help finally.
This narrative is as wrong and damaging as it gets. Yes, therapy is for serious mental health issues, but it is also for those who find coping with their everyday emotions tough. Therapy not only makes your bad life good; it can also make your good life better. Therefore, using therapy as a resource rather than a remedy can be potent in curbing the rise of mental health issues.
The rise of mental health issues affects everyone, irrespective of age and background. The pressure to be perfect on social media, increasing financial stress, work-life imbalance, and the anxiousness of living in an uncertain world are some reasons for this rise in mental illnesses.
While it is no secret that most of us are struggling to keep our heads above water, we can all find a safe haven knowing that we are not alone in this. There are steps you can take and resources you can use to look after your mental health and well-being.
Access to these mental health resources is not more accessible than ever with the advent of online therapy platforms. To learn about the top online therapy platforms, click here. To continue learning about mental health, subscribe to Your Mental Health Pal.