• Question: What do you think is the biggest factor-within society-that leads to the deterioration of mental health?

    Asked by dos to Rob, Olly, Nicola, Jasmin, Dennis, Caroline on 12 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Jasmin Moon

      Jasmin Moon answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I think poverty and health inequalities are the biggest problems. Research has shown that the more debt someone has, the more likely they are to develop mental health problems. Issues such as lack of education, and unemployment as well as social isolation are also to blame, which of course are all more likely if someone has a low income and lives in a deprived area. So it’s really important to make sure that mental health care is available to everyone at all stages of their life no matter where they live or their circumstances.

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      Hi dos. I think it’s stress. We are expected to finish things in so little time, which can be very stressful. And there are also too many distractions now – social media is a good example.

      The good thing though is that we now talk openly about mental health and there are many charities and mental health professionals that we could turn to if you need help.

    • Photo: Caroline Brett

      Caroline Brett answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      Definitely inequality. This affects every aspect of our lives. In the book The Spirit Level (and its sequel, The Inner Level), Pickett and Wilkinson (who are both epidemiologists – they study the health of whole populations) show that health and wellbeing is lowest in countries with greater income inequality – regardless of whether you are rich or poor. So even if you are well off, if your country (which includes the UK) has high inequality, you will be less happy than someone who is less well off but lives in a country that is more equal (such as Denmark). Really interesting stuff!

    • Photo: Robert Dempsey

      Robert Dempsey answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I think inequality is a major factor that influences our mental health – so having a bigger difference between social groups in terms of money, opportunities, and resources, is a big factor. There’s a lot of work into ‘social rank’ in terms of mental health too – if we think that we are low in social rank (i.e. everyone else is better than us) then that may be associated with poorer mental health (as it reinforces self-negative beliefs about who we are, our world and the future). Inequality has a big effect on both our mental and physical health.

    • Photo: Nicola Johnstone

      Nicola Johnstone answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      Stress and sleep are the biggest drivers.

    • Photo: Oliver Clabburn

      Oliver Clabburn answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      Probably society itself!

      Society kind of suggests how we should work, behave, think etc…. Like Dennis said, we’re encouraged to work loads which then causes us stress. We look for a distraction from the stress, which then gives us something else to be concerned about! It might be that we see loads of stuff on social media (when we’re distracted) so then we striving towards that ‘something’ which we had identified as just being a distraction… so then we need distracting from our distraction?! (Wow, I’m confusing myself now!) Maybe that was always the aim? In striving for the secondary thing, we’ve become distracted and moved away from the original source of stress! Phew.

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