The impact of inflation on mental health
In recent days, it has become impossible to look away from the fact that people from all walks of life are becoming increasingly wary of inflation. Inflation decreases our purchasing capabilities which lowers the standard of living within a short span of time, and according to psychologists, this creates chronic anxiety, exhaustion, and strained relationships. Inflation also creates a sense of deep insecurity among the masses because, it is very difficult to ascertain the point from which the economy will start to recover and how bad it will get before it even gets to that point.
Although, inflation hits everyone in different ways, researchers have established substantial connections between inflation and overall deterioration of a society's mental health. Inflation causes income inequality. A study published in the World Psychiatry journal has indicated that two-thirds of the world population were more likely to suffer from depression when income disparity increased. Another study from the same journal has shown that citizens from highly uneven countries are 1.2 times more likely to experience depression. Studies have also shown that unequal societies have higher rates of schizophrenia.
Inflation is a precursor to rising unemployment as well, and unemployment is the 8th most stressful situation a person can ever face according to Holmes and Rahe. Unemployed citizens are also 2.3 times more likely to face mental health problems compared to employed people. Inflation is also one of the root causes of underpayment, which is heavily linked with exasperation, dissatisfaction, and bitterness. Inflation makes it harder to afford basic needs too and researchers from Canada has shown that persons with unmet basic needs have 16% lower mental health score than the average.
No matter who we blame for this predicament, there is no denying that inflation is here to stay, and it is going to get much worse before it gets better. Therefore, we must brace ourselves for a potential mental health crisis. The adult members of our society are particularly at the greatest risk because, the population aged between 18 to 44 are most likely to face mental health issues due to inflation.
We must remember that inflation is no different from a catastrophe and during catastrophes, it is our responsibility as human beings to help the ones who are in less favourable situations than us. After all, it is all for one and one for all.
The writer is a freelance researcher and writer.