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Impact of Urban Living on Mental Health

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Urbanization is a process that leads to the growth of cities due to industrialization and economic development and leads to urban specific changes in specialization, labour division and human behaviours. Developing countries like India are experiencing rapid increase in population and rapid urbanization leading to negative social, psychological, economic impact on people. Urbanization leads to a heterogeneous mix of problems which includes psychoses, depression, sociopathy, substance abuse, alcoholism, crime, vandalism, family disintegration and alienation and affects the entire gamut of population.Unplanned urbanization is often associated with poverty, environmental degradation and increased demand on the resources. Mood and anxiety disorders are more prevalent in city dwellers and the incidence of schizophrenia is more in people born and raised in cities. Some factors that affect the mental health are:

1. The fast pace of life and the scale of cities lead to anonymity and indifference.

2. Poor, overcrowded physical environments, high levels of violence and accidents lead to depression.

3. Large influx of rural population to cities has increased stress on them to adapt quickly to the challenging environment and the new lingo, symbols and tradition associated with it

4. With the younger population migrating to urban areas, there is increased stress on the older people who are left to fend for themselves and do not have immediate help to care for.

5. Creation of fringe population results in more number of children and adolescents in socioeconomically deprived areas who are often drawn to antisocial behavior.

6. The demand on women to juggle the multiple facets in urban life has resulted in increased mental stress. Gender discrimination, malnutrition, overwork, domestic and sexual violence aggravate the problem.

A balanced approach to development is needed to alleviate these impacts on mental health


1. Civil services chronicle - august 2011




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