Why We Associate Mental Health with Wealth

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On the train to work, I overheard two women discussing Kate Spade’s death. They could not seem to understand why a wealthy, successful woman would take her own life. I found this discussion extremely saddening because they seemed to be associating high income and status with being the reason for good mental health.

There is no tax bracket within which mental health is robust and illness does not exist. Mental health illnesses impact the lives of millions of people all over the world and the association of wealth and robust mental health needs to stop. Quit questioning why a wealthy person would take their own life and learn to better understand mental health diseases.

I do not typically overhear people discuss individuals who die of heart disease or other physical ailments putting the person’s income into question. We do not say that a person, who dies of a heart attack, chose to take their own life by choosing to live an unhealthy lifestyle. We do not question why their money did not save them, so why do we attack individuals who suffer from mental health issues?

There is no difference between a physical disease and mental one. Poor health is poor health, regardless of if it exists in the mind or the body.

Someone who suffers from a mental health issue does not have a character flaw, just as someone who has a genetic condition, which predisposes them to high cholesterol, has a physical flaw. They are both disorders which need treatment, support and empathy.

Suicide is not someone trying to share their pain with others or leave their issues for their loved ones to deal with; the individual is suffering and trying to find a permanent solution to end their pain. Money cannot take away this pain; medication, therapy and intervention can be a solution, but this is the truth for both physical and mental ailments.

If someone you may know might be suffering from thoughts of suicide, talk to them. Gain education and support on how to treat and support mental health disease and be a part of the solution. Do not assume that a wealthy person has more than you because a bank account does not save someone from any disease. We are all susceptible to physical and mental illnesses and money will not protect us from them.

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I write about issues that are near and dear to my heart, with the hope that my stories, experiences, and struggles may empower others: amanlitt.ca

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