Mental health is becoming one of the most important topics these days, which wasn’t always the case. People used to be focused only on their physical health, while putting its mental counterpart aside. This is especially true in men, who consider talking about feelings and problems a weakness.
Mental illnesses have always been present, but some perhaps not to such a high degree as nowadays. Factors such as genetics and psychological trauma are some of the main causes of common mental disorders, but the 21st century brought plenty of social and environmental factors along that also greatly increase the risk of developing these disorders.
What changed over the course of roughly two decades that greatly affects one’s mental health, and why? Let’s have a look.
While a variety of economic changes have brought good effects on society at large, there are still those changes that negatively affect quite a lot of societies.
There’s still a lot of poverty all over the world, and plenty of countries with unbelievably high rates of unemployment. This is precisely due to various changes that help some societies thrive while preventing others from doing the same.
Poverty and unemployment are some of the most common risk factors for developing depression and anxiety. They significantly increase stress and even lead a lot of people to commit suicide. They come to a point where they don’t see a way out and don’t know how to reduce stress, because they simply can’t provide for their families. This is one of the most serious problems of the modern world.
Constant advances in technology are closely related to economic changes. While technology does help the world become a better place in numerous ways, it also leaves a lot of people out of jobs.
This is primarily because of automation and artificial intelligence, which can now complete a wide variety of tasks in almost every industry much more efficiently than humans. Automation and AI can truly help people, and significantly enhance their work, but they still make plenty of jobs obsolete.
This is also what leads to higher unemployment and poverty, increasing the number of people experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Also, the emergence of smartphones, tablets, wearables, and other technological innovations separated society into two groups: those that could afford these devices, and those that couldn’t. This led to many people feeling low self-esteem and low self-worth, which again often led to stress and depression.
Now that having various tech devices, such as smartphones, is a necessity, social changes are perking their heads up. They are definitely the most notable changes that the 21st century brought when it comes to mental health.
People have become addicted to social media, seeking likes, rewards, public praise, and public acceptance that would make them feel better about themselves. This need for a daily social fix of this sort has made people become quite narcissistic.
On the other hand, many of those who don’t receive the same level of social praise often feel isolated, lonely, and depressed. They feel they’re not as worthy as those other social butterflies, which is exactly where many mental disorders come creeping in.
Some of the most common are eating disorders and substance abuse. They turn to alcohol, drugs, or binge eating to cope with stress and overwhelming emotions, all of which takes a huge toll on both their mental and physical health.
Social Stigma Regarding Mental Health
Although mental health is becoming an important topic nowadays, there is still a huge social stigma about it. There’s a lot of discrimination against people experiencing any kind of mental health problem, be it depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, or any other related issue.
This is primarily because of the lack of social awareness regarding mental health. But because this stigma exists in our society, people with mental health problems often don’t seek the help they desperately need. They’re ashamed to say they’re experiencing any kind of troubles, and they neither speak to their loved ones nor seek professional help.
Fortunately, this is something that has taken a great turn in the past several years, and will hopefully continue raising social awareness. A number of celebrities are speaking up about these issues, and inspiring people to do the same, and help others get better.The world definitely has quite a long way to go to effectively solve all these problems, and help its residents lead a healthier and happier life. But it all starts with you. As Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Help yourself and others whenever you can, and the world will be a much better place.