It may seem something of a bizarre question but there is a growing belief that the stigma of mental health is impacted in some way by an individual’s wealth. There is the old saying that somebody with money and mental health issues is described as "eccentric" while someone in the same situation but struggling financially seems to attract the full stigma of mental health and unkind descriptions. So, is society separating those with money and those without money when it comes to mental health issues?
Society can be cruel
If we take wealth out of the equation just from a moment it is not difficult to find an example where somebody with a mental health issue has been ridiculed, ignored and written off. Even some of the best-known stars from showbiz have struggled to fight back from the stigma of mental illness although in reality they have significant financial and public relations backing to at least attempt to fight back. So, while mental health itself pays no homage to those who are wealthy or those who are struggling financially, society can be very different?
Unfortunately in the modern day world money does talk and can buy you many different things. As we touched on above, how many times have you seen press reports of wealthy individuals described as "eccentric" when it is blatantly obvious they are suffering from some kind of mental illness. The situation is very different with for example a homeless person with nowhere to go who has their own mental illness. They are not seen as "eccentric", they are not afforded the respect that everybody deserves as a lack of money seems to breed a lack of respect.
Does this help sufferers?
The fact is that there should be no stigma attached to mental health, whether rich, famous or struggling financially, and those who talk openly of their problems should be applauded. However, when we see eccentric individuals with an obvious mental health issue "accepted" in a very different manner to others in a different financial situation this does breed an "us and them" mentality.
It is a crying shame that all mental health issues are not treated the same, do not receive the respect they deserve and perhaps more importantly have been starved of funding by the authorities. As we have touched on with earlier articles, in many ways it is the fact that mental illness is not visible to the naked eye which allows people to "ignore" the issue. The problem is that ignoring this particular type of illness does the individual no good and will only build up more and more pressure for the future.
It is a scandal that wealth has even any impact upon the stigma of mental health where those with money are deemed to be "eccentric" while those without money are often deemed to be "crazy". Only when each and every person, irrespective of their background, is treated the same will we be able to have an honest and open discussion about this terrible illness. Phobias, anxiety or other mental health issues should not be swept under the carpet because they will only get worse!