How Does Classism Affect Mental Health?

How does Classism affect Mental Health?

In recent years, awareness around mental health and care has grown exponentially. It is increasingly common for people around us to go to psychological therapy and be aware of their mental health problems, thus generating a feeling of almost obligation to take care of our well-being. In most cases, this care comes through psychological therapy, but can everyone afford it, or is it a privilege?

With the increase in this awareness of mental health, the distances or social differences that distinguish people who can easily attend psychological therapy, for example, from those who cannot, have also grown. In many cases, when thinking about mental health, we forget the importance of class consciousness, and recognize that, for many people, taking care of their psychological and emotional needs is a privilege.

It is a reality that, the greater the availability of money and wealth, the greater opportunities and doors open. This does not mean that people with money do not have problems, but it does mean that they have greater resources to find a solution and get out of a complicated situation, which a person without those resources could not do. This has to do with classism, the differentiation of people into “classes” or groups based on their money and social freedoms.

In this article, We are going to talk about how classist thoughts and attitudes affect mental health.and how on many occasions, when we talk about mental health, we forget to speak intersectionally and recognize the individual and social differences that can separate us.

What is classism?

Classism is a form of discrimination and prejudice rooted in the stratification of society according to social classes. It often manifests itself in the belief that some people are inherently superior or inferior due to their economic status. Unlike racism or sexism, which focus on race or gender, classism is primarily based on the socioeconomic position of an individualbut it is important to be aware of the way in which society is structured so that the social majorities have greater access to better opportunities and positions in our society.

You may be interested:  This is Psychological Assistance for Women in Fertility Treatments

This form of discrimination can be obvious or subtle. It can be as overt as the active exclusion of educational or employment opportunities for people of a certain social class, or as subtle as a derogatory comment about someone’s place of residence. Classism can manifest itself in stereotypes, prejudices and judgments based on appearance, education, accent, profession or even clothing. of a person. An essential aspect of classism is its role in perpetuating economic inequalities.

Those who belong to higher classes often benefit from a number of advantages that often go unnoticed. These advantages can include easier access to quality education, well-paying jobs, quality healthcare, and a strong network. Meanwhile, those in the lower classes often face significant obstacles to improving their lives and achieving their goals.

Impact of classism on mental health

The impact of classism on people’s mental health is deep and varied. Although specific consequences may vary from individual to individual, there are common patterns that shed light on how classism can undermine people’s psychological well-being.

1. Stress and anxiety

People who face class discrimination often experience high levels of chronic stress. The constant worry about financial difficulties, the perception of being judged or belittled due to their social status, and the struggle to meet expectations They can trigger anxiety symptoms. Ongoing stress can have a negative impact on long-term mental health.

2. Depression

Classism can lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, especially in those struggling to overcome economic obstacles.. Feelings of being excluded from opportunities or treated unfairly because of social class can contribute to depression.

You may be interested:  The 3 Most Important Biological Theories of Anxiety

3. Self-esteem and self-concept

People who face classism often internalize the negative messages they receive about their worth as individuals. This can lead to self-esteem and self-concept issues, which in turn affects your mental health. Feeling inferior due to social class can be debilitating and limit a person’s potential.

4. Social isolation

Classism can lead to social isolation, as people may feel like they don’t fit in or are marginalized based on their economic background. Isolation can be detrimental to mental health, as social support is essential for psychological well-being.

5. Impact on childhood and adolescence

Children and adolescents who experience classism may be particularly vulnerable. Experiences of discrimination at a young age can leave lasting scars in the development of self-image and self-esteem.

6. Access to health care and mental health services

Classism can also hinder access to quality mental health services. Those in precarious economic situations may have difficulty receiving the care they need, exacerbating their mental health problems.

Social consequences of classism

Classism is not simply an individual problem, but has significant consequences at the social and community level. Discrimination based on social class not only affects people’s mental health, but also undermines the cohesion of society as a whole. Next, we will explore some of the social consequences of classism:

1. Inequality and systemic discrimination

Classism contributes to the perpetuation of economic inequality and systemic discrimination. Socioeconomic structures that favor certain groups and marginalize others are often kept in place due to prejudices and stereotypes based on social class.

2. Social fragmentation

Classism can lead to the fragmentation of society into economic strata, making collaboration and mutual understanding between different groups difficult. This can increase polarization and weaken the social fabric.

3. Lack of social mobilization

When classism is predominant, people from lower social classes may have difficulty moving up socially and economically. This can lead to a cycle of intergenerational povertyin which opportunities are limited and passed from one generation to the next.

4. Gaps in education and employment

Discrimination based on social class often results in gaps in education and employment. Those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds may face significant barriers to accessing quality education and obtaining well-paying jobs.

You may be interested:  The Body Psychotherapies of Reich, Lowen and Gendlin

5. Health inequities:

People from lower social classes often experience health inequities, including higher rates of chronic diseases and lower life expectancy. Lack of access to healthcare and healthy lifestyles can be a direct consequence of classism.

6. Social tension and discontent

The perception of injustice due to classism can generate social tension and discontent. This can manifest in protests, social movements and riots, as people seek to change a system they perceive as deeply unequal.

7. Effect on social cohesion:

classism can weaken social cohesion by eroding trust and sense of community between different social strata. The lack of solidarity can make it difficult to build more just and equitable societies.

Overcome classism

Having become aware of the way in which the maintenance of ideas subject to classism separates and differentiates us, it is important to recognize the possibilities of change and deconstruction. The path to overcoming classism and promoting a more equal and healthy society begins with awareness and action. In conclusion, here are some ways we can address this challenge:

1. Education and awareness

Education is a crucial first step in overcoming classism. Promoting understanding of how classism works and how it affects people is essential. This involves not only educating people from higher social classes, but also fostering empathy and awareness at all levels of society.

2. Challenge stereotypes and prejudices

We must be aware of our own prejudices and stereotypes regarding social class and strive to challenge them. This includes avoiding judgment based on a person’s appearance, education, or profession.

3. Equality policies

Government and business policies can play a critical role in combating classism. This includes policies that promote equal pay, access to education and health careand protection against discrimination based on social class.

4. Support for organizations and initiatives

Supporting organizations and movements that work to combat classism is essential. Donating time, resources or actively participating in campaigns can make a difference.

5. Foster empathy

Fostering empathy is crucial. Listen to the experiences and perspectives of people from different social classes can help create greater understanding and compassion.

6. Support mental health

Recognizing the impact of classism on mental health is a fundamental step to overcoming it. Promoting mental health care and eliminating the stigma around seeking help are essential components of this fight.