Furthermore Marx would suggest that the reason for the rise in mental Paper

Published: 2021-08-30 20:20:10
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Furthermore, Marx would suggest that the reason for the rise in mental health issues amongst Intermediate occupations is because of the rise in demands and the expectations; known as the work-enforcing compliance. For example, within retail/sales, you can no longer just sell a product and move on; individuals are now expected to smile, be friendly, meet sale targets; being shy/withdrawn is now a hindering factor within this sector; especially since the rise of self-surveillance (Cohen 2016). Furthermore, another interesting aspect to what mental health appears to be linked to is the concept of debt. However, it is important to establish there are different forms of this type of poverty, which can each have their own, individual effect. The first type is secured debt. This form of debt is usually secured by some form of asset which then acts as collateral. Even though this type of debt is less risky in terms of the interest rate, they can also have severe consequences. For example, a secure debt would be the mortgage an individual takes out for a property; but if payments are not made, there is a risk of repression. The other form of debt is unsecured debt; which entail’s having a financial agreement with a lender, but no collateral is needed to secure the loan. Unlike secure debts, unsecured debts usually have quite a high interest rate which comes with fees/penalties if not paid; so, an example would be student loans/payday loans (Irby 2019). According to an article from the Guardian, within 2014, there was at least one short-term loan shop for every seven banks/building societies within UK high streets. Just this alone illustrates how much the loaning industry has just exploded, especially since the financial crisis of 2008. What is also interesting is where these shops are located in the UK, as the article also stated how wealthy neighbourhoods have far less loan shops, with fewer than one shop per 100,000 residents; which illustrates how the poorer areas are being targeted; areas where poverty levels are significantly higher (Osborne 2014). Sociological studies have shown that there is quite a strong relationship between both poverty and mental health; as debt has a significantly different impact than a low income would; as debt does not only put extreme pressure upon an individual, it can also be quite difficult to get out of it. Especially since global financial crises have become more common, the link between debt and mental health issues have been identified as an area of enquiry which needs more research put into it, but still to this day it is heavily under-researched. Although, what is interesting is how much student debt has had a significant impact upon one’s mental health, as research shows that a strong relationship does exist between students and debt; which results in a difficulty in paying rent and having to work outside university to just keep themselves afloat. An article from the Independent illustrated the stress university students go through to support themselves; with 39% stating they cannot afford their weekly food shop, and 1/3 of students who receive maintenance loans state they feel stressed because of the amount of debt they are accumulating (Pells, 2017). When looking at explanations as to why a strong link between poverty and mental illness exists, one theory which can be drawn upon is the Drift Hypothesis; which argues one’s mental health can cause them to lose social mobility; as if their mental health is deteriorating, it can result in a lower social class attainment. From a Marxist perspective; Marxist’s would argue that there has always been poverty within society, and it will always be an inevitable consequence when living in a capitalist society. Therefore, individuals will continue to experience mental health issues because of the different hierarchal structures in place within society.
As previously mentioned, society sees mental illness from two viewpoints; either a biomedical epidemic or a cultural epidemic. From a biological standpoint, mental illness is seen as a result of defective genes, or chemical imbalance within the brain, which can be controlled with drugs, or counselling such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). However, what biology seems to ignore is the number of individuals who are now diagnosed with mental disorders; as it has increased significantly since 2008, and continues to rise, especially amongst individuals who do not have many educational qualifications/no occupation. When looking at explanations for this rise, Weber’s theory on status is significant; but has a different approach to what Marxist’s may believe the reason for this link exists. Unlike Marx, Weber discusses class in a more general term in relation to social stratification; and class is in fact one dimension of society’s social structure, and social status is another. Weber was not an economic determinist like Marx, as he believed there was more reason for inequality in society than just the capitalist system and believed that the starting point to looking at class/social stratification is by studying the individual, not capital/property. Weber believes a significant part of exploitation is the life chances an one has access too, which therefore then has an impact upon their education/employment/housing/health, meaning social class is based upon the belief that class divisions and inequalities represent different life chances available within the market, and therefore one’s class position is determined on the job market (Shortell, No Date). Therefore, in relation to mental health; one’s mental wellbeing can be effected depending on their life chances, and if they are in a position which is restricted in accessing good quality education/employment etc. this can then affect their mental health in a negative way.

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