More people are moving from rural to urban areas with hopes for better lives. This preference forces countries to follow the trend of urbanization. Thus, bringing in changes in the social, environmental, and economic status. Changes that do not always mean growth, progress, and efficiency.
Across multiple continents, urbanization has been linked to relative increases in mental health problems. — Glenn Geher Ph.D.
Urbanization has its advantages and disadvantages. It may be a sign of economic growth and improvement in the standard of living of “some” families. But sometimes, the economic growth is not enough to feed everyone who comes to the city, not even enough to provide everyone with a job that can sustain a family. Thus, most of them, especially the unskilled ones, end up as informal settlers.
Home To Poverty
People from the rural areas are attracted by the lights and noise of the city. They taught that in moving to the city, they would find milk and honey. Often, what awaits them is the exact opposite.
The influx of people in the city increases the level of poverty and pollution. With poverty, crime rate upsurges. The increase in the number of informal settlers charges up pollution. These pollutants often bring health issues (physical and mental) (garbage, dirty swamps, blocked drains, and more).
Impact To Mental Health
Poverty can have a significant impact on mental health. Moving from rural to the urban area can expose you to hardships and dangers.
Stress-related illnesses exact a tremendous cost in urban society, both personal and economic. — Colin Ellard Ph.D.
Having little or no social support in a busy place where everything happens so fast can make you more vulnerable to mental disorders. Being used to the slow life in the countryside, you might experience the shock that could lead to developing anxiety and depression.
Mostly, the young adults are the ones who are eager to move into the city. They are the age group who are supposed to be the most productive, yet more vulnerable to be burdened by mental health issues.
Vices, Crime, And Family Disintegration
With progress comes complexity and chaos. Chaos often results in people being hooked on vices and committing a crime. The disorder caused family breakdown, and the ones most affected are the children. What’s the use of progress and how will we see the future when the children of today are suffering from mental breakdown brought by the collapse of the basic unit of our society?
Economic progress is good, but if enjoyed only by few, can result in socio-economic stress. The stress and other forms of mental health issues cause an increase in violence and crimes that can be associated with alcohol, drugs and other substance abuse, and other vices.
Those who find it hard to thrive in the city end up suffering from depression. They sometimes feel hopeless which push them to commit a crime, some even would think of committing suicide to end their tribulation.
Neuroscientific and behavioural insights have been used successfully in a number of building projects within the health and education sectors and from the design of ‘healthy cities’ to sustainable neighbourhoods. — Jessica Pykett Ph.D.
The elderly who are left alone in their homes in the rural areas have no one to care for them. Some can’t even work and have no source of income. They are only relying on the money being sent by their children who moved to the city. The neglected older population can also suffer from loneliness, anxiety, and exposure to more health issues, both physical and mental.
It’s time to re-think and spread awareness about urbanization. The pros and cons it can do to families who wanted to move to the city. The government must initiate campaigns and programs to help improve their lives so they can have a choice to stay in the countryside.
We yearn so much for a worldly life that the bright and colorful city lights blind us. We see them as a depiction of fame and success. We failed to realize that it is more of a concrete jungle where no one is safe and only the fittest survive.