Worldwide, inequality levels are immense and vastly rising, affecting the livelihoods of millions of people. [EXAMPLES OF INEQUALITY RATE WITH SOURCE] While the wealthiest 10% continue to see their wealth grow, a growing majority of the people are living in (extreme) poverty and precarity all around the world.
Not only are those people in highly unequal positions from an economic perspective, they are also facing huge limitations in terms of accessing adequate health care, the labour market, educational possibilities and/or social benefits. Consequently, this forces people to live in the margins of society, which limits or even blocks the possibilities to thrive and develop oneself and support family and other community members.
As one can imagine, these severe consequences of inequality have proven to massively impact the mental health of those affected by inequality. Research shows that inequality and the marginalisation affect often leads to higher anxiety rates, higher depression rates and higher suicide rates, and these are just a few of the many psychosocial consequences of living in the margins of society. This does not only impact the individuals affected by inequality, but can also have a multiplier effect within the communities they live in and for their future generations.
At the same time, adequate access to mental health care is strongly limited or even completely lacking in many societies around the world. Sometimes because of the stigma around receiving therapeutic or other forms of care, but most commonly because of the costs related to mental health care, especially in countries that do not have an adequate public mental health system (which include many European states as well). This prevents people from leaving a situation of marginalisation, because – as one can imagine – applying for a job, starting new studies or even doing sports is made very hard whilst facing heavy stress and being in a vulnerable and negative state of mind.
As a result, an extremely negative and dangerous vicious circle with no clear exit has been created: (1) the strong impact of inequality and marginalisation affects people’s mental health greatly, (2) therefore prevents them from accessing opportunities that could change the situation of marginalisation, (3) consequently reinforcing the negative state of their mental health.
At Iguality, we strongly believe that by offering, promoting and fostering equal access to mental health care services, we can break this vicious circle of marginalisation and strongly improve the situation of those affected by the harmful effects of inequality. By doing so, we can support communities (re-)claim their rights and their place in society, independent of where they are from or to which group they belong to, and with that, contribute to a more equal and fair society for all.