Mental Health and Wealthy People
With the state of the current mental health care system in South Africa, it can be said that money is a significant barrier to quality treatment and support. State facilities are under-resourced and under-funded, which makes private psychiatric care the better option for those looking to
properly manage their mental health problems.
However, private care is not something that is easily affordable by all those affected. In fact, statistics reveal that more than a third of the country’s population is struck by mental illness, and a large percentage of those fall within the lower- and working-class range. So how does mental illness affect those who are better off financially? Is it any different to those who are not?
Well, access to care is the biggest difference. When you belong to a medical aid that allows regular therapy sessions, or have enough money to
pay for them yourself, the outcomes of your condition is greatly affected.
Then there is also the mindset regarding mental illness among the rich. Popping off to see your therapist between getting your nails and your next yoga session is considered a norm. Very few stigmas apply in this world. It gives you the freedom to acknowledge and deal with your problems in a way that is healthy.
You are also able to tailor your treatment to best suit your schedule and lifestyle. Some therapists don’t even use consulting rooms, opting to meet up with their clients in a space that is comfortable for them – whether it be a walk in the park, or brunch at their favorite café. This freedom makes a huge impact on treatment as well as managing your condition in the long term.
On the other hand, wealth has long been considered a risk factor to mental health. With more and more affluent children being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, it’s becoming clear that this specific class deals with varying pressures related to wealth and success that exacerbate
symptoms of mental illness.
They don’t have to worry about making ends meet, but stress and
pressure from work and maintaining a certain lifestyle often leads to substance abuse and feelings of isolation. It’s become a cycle that essentially feeds itself, and while the class disparity separates them from those who don’t have money with regard to treatment, rich people are on
equal footing with the poor when it comes to how their conditions affect them.