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The Isolated Men of Pakistan

isolated men

Privilege and power come with increased responsibility and burdens. While the Western societies have advanced far and wide in their understanding of mental health struggles, South-East Asians struggle to even acknowledge their existence. That is partially due to social stigma but not entirely so. The important question is, can we even afford to focus on the matter of mental health? Or do we have bigger struggles at hand?

This is why it is important to register and understand that mental well-being is similar to physical well-being for the functionality and progression of a country. Comparisons need to be drawn in with economic stability and healthy state of individuals in a country. According to one study, households that have a relatively low income are most likely to have individuals with severe, often long-lasting mental health struggles and high suicide rates. Another study showed that there was a strong connection between rapid urbanization and increasing suicide rates and depression. People felt a lack of connectivity in larger cities and found themselves in severe depression due to economic struggles and low standards of life.

There is a desperate air in the house of one bread-winner and a large family that needs feeding. The repercussions of the depravity his family feels are often considered more important than the incessant labor he has to do just to earn the bare minimum he could provide his family. In that dark poverty-stricken home, no one has the time to ask each other how they are doing, what they feel, how often they contemplate that a life after death seems so much more appealing than the one they are currently living. But what about the one who is up at dawn and has no thoughts throughout the day because his mind is occupied by work and work alone. He is nothing more than a robot that has to repeat the same thing over and over again for a barely sustainable income. His life is most important for his family but his living being is not. It is hard to imagine the psychological states of people living under such deprived economic states.

Violent Men and Poverty:

For people whose lives are always at the fight-or-flight mode, living is not an option, all they do is survive. They do not have enough to eat or drink, enough clothes to wear, they have homes with walls so thin blowing wind could wipe them away. These people do not have a plethora of choices in life. They either have to choose working hard day and night just to survive or give in to a thousand other ways of coping with a deprived existence. Such options include drugs, alcohol consumption, addictions etc. But even those of whom that choose to work harder have a mental strain so grave that they can no longer feel or think like other human beings. Their minds enter a dark, numb place which is as good as dead. Such an apathetic state is far from being harmless for society. In fact, people with psychopathic and sociopathic disorders have a strong inclination to become apathetic to others. This in turn leads them to not have a fear of consequences in the choices they make.

Not all crimes can be justified but nearly all of them have underlying psychological explanations. It is essential to acknowledge these psychological conditions and identify where they come from. Socio-economic conditions are a huge concern for most people. According to a study by American Psychological Association, a majority of people reported that a huge trigger for stress in their lives was financial instability. While comparing GDP per capita for different countries, it was found that countries with higher GDP per capita also reported higher life expectancy as well as higher rates of happiness. While those that had lower GDP per capita had lower rates of life expectancy, happiness and standards of living.

So why is it important to correlate men’s mental health and economic conditions in our country?

Precisely because with the declining state of economy in our country, the pressure to earn a good salary at a young age has become very important. While the trends of both partners doing jobs to support their family has been established in our country, especially its urban areas, that does not take away the social pressure and expectancy placed on men to solely provide for their family and earn a stable income. The rate of unemployment in Pakistan has reached at a 4.45% in last year. Unemployed graduates have to face a lot of stigma by the society. They not only struggle to have a sustainable job and provide for their family but also have a harder time finding partners that they could settle down with. Families are only willing to give up their daughters to a well-established man in fear of financial depravity. Not only that, they feel inclined to provide dowry to their daughters and feel forced to provide more than they could.

Social evils have a strong relation with extremities. Whenever a particular aspect of society reaches tipping levels, it has dire consequences. Just like that, the poor economic conditions breed many social evils, not only outside but also inside the homes. People are not just born greedy, aggressive or manipulative. These sets of traits become dominant in individuals due to the injustice they face by system and the social conditions around them. According to an estimate, about 10 to 20 percent of Pakistani women face domestic violence each day. Although the reasons behind such staggering numbers include many social misconceptions, these reasons are not isolated from economic struggles. An essential result of mental strain is aggressive behavior and emotional meltdowns at small inconveniences. Men in our country that are facing enhanced pressure from social expectations of success and stability end up taking out all their frustration on their partners. This creates an endless loop of injustice breeding injustice.

What can be done?

It is essential to realize that mental health problems are a huge problem for the development of a country. The casualties due to mental health should be considered as grave as physical health. We should also consider what socioeconomic conditions are the breeding grounds for these struggles. Acknowledging these struggles in specific sectors of society can help us to destigmatize them. We need to incorporate counselling in public schools and work on educating campaigns that raise awareness about mental health problems in deprived areas as well.

Men are not only under more economic pressure but also under expected from a more progressive sector of society to magically reform themselves. This reform is hardly possible when they too are victims to a system that deprives them of their basic needs and gives them no space for venting emotional frustration or psychological burnouts. They are not culprits that scheme against women’s demise, they are equally limited by their circumstances. In such a case, isolating them further by blaming them to be at fault for all transgressions is not helpful. It is more beneficial to establish rehabilitation centers for helping men with such tendencies, reducing costs of therapy and be encouraging of young boys expressing their emotions without being suppressed or ridiculed.

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Category: Social

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