Cashless Economy and Mental Health

A national mental health survey conducted by National institute of mental health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) estimates that more than 150 million people in India experience one or more mental health illness.  Care access to these people is very limited.  Moreover, no care access to people living in rural areas is ever being established. India homes to more than 30% of poor children in the world. Effective health systems are not equally distributed across country and trajectory of mental illness is rising.

People as a barrier

People themselves stand as a barrier for pragmatic approach for mental wellbeing. Any abnormal behaviour is seen deviated from social norms and discussing any mental disorder is a taboo. Culture and religious believes have always seen mental illness as supernatural and treat them with exorcism. Often exorcism is cruel and painful causing more pain mentally and there have been no evidence of its validity.

Poverty and mental health

Most of the mental disorders are self created or responses of environmental effects, which can be treated by taking away the stimuli which caused it. These mental illnesses are often result of hectic work, job dissatisfaction, post trauma stress disorder (PTSD). But often what poor experience are not these. Depression, anxiety, stress and many among poor are caused due to non availability of wages time to time.

Poverty is feminised in an uninterrupted ceaseless cycle, characterized by malnourished women and children. Women are more often the victims of poverty. They are made to stop schooling for many reasons:  to take care of younger siblings, unavailability of menstrual hygiene in toilets (sometimes no toilets at all) and many other patriarchal reasons. Women are often subjected to violence affecting their physical and mental health. Childhood marriages, dowry, abortions, and poverty altogether form a toxic cocktail which leaves women and children forever in compromised mental hangover. One of main causes of poverty among poorest of poor is not receiving their wages on time. This happens often with construction and daily wage workers. Some receive partial wages while some receive none. Records show that contractor has paid workers on time, but workers don’t receive any money.

Cashless economy and mental health

Mental wellbeing can also be achieved through unorthodox non-medical procedures. Implementing a cashless money transfer for daily wage labours can ensure the time and amount they received as promised by contractor. While still many of daily wage labourers are uneducated, most of them know how to use an ATM. A well documented record can be easily maintained and no faulty business will be encouraged through this cashless transfers. Implementing this policy effectively ensures that workers receive more and sustained income than before. Increase in income results in increase in expenditure on nutrition and decrease in domestic violence maintaining levels of happiness, reduction in depression and stress. Contentment at home results in less alcohol and drug abuse thus reducing crime.  

Cashless economy is not only ensures decent banking system but also public health, mental wellbeing and reduction in crime.

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