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Dr. Marta Ra, CEO of Paracelsus Recovery, explains how the Covid-19 crisis impacts wealthy individuals, and how they can protect their mental health.
The Covid-19 crisis has disrupted all of our lives. Still, while everyone is affected, those on the lower ends of the socioeconomic spectrum have suffered more than others. At Paracelsus Recovery, we do not want to gloss over this hard truth. However, in this article, we focus on the specific implications this crisis has had on high-net-worth individuals. Wealthy and powerful people are equally prone to mental health difficulties. In many ways, they are more at risk for various mental health issues due to the stress and loneliness that wealth can bring with it. Despite this, they remain an often-overlooked demographic when it comes to mental health struggles.
The coronavirus pandemic has injected anxiety and uncertainty into everyone’s lives. For those at the top, these emotions are confounded by economic loss and severely disrupted routines. For instance, many UHNW individuals are unaccustomed to spending so much time in one place. As a result, self-isolation can make them feel trapped and anxious. Since the pandemic began, Paracelsus Recovery has experienced a surge in calls from our UHNW clientele seeking help for mental health difficulties. Amongst others, these challenges include economic loss, painful relationship dynamics, and substance abuse.
1. Economic Issues.
C-Suite executives worldwide are navigating the stress of keeping a business running during a global lockdown, supporting their families, and ensuring their employees can meet their own responsibilities. However, for many CEOs, it has been impossible to achieve all of these goals. As a result, difficult emotions such as guilt, powerlessness, and a sense of failure can arise. Many UHNW individuals have suffered tremendous economic loss through no fault of their own. Financial loss can take a significant toll on our mental health, relationships, self-worth, and even our physical health. At Paracelsus Recovery, we see time and time again the impact it can have — often leading to depression or substance abuse issues.
If you have experienced financial loss, be mindful of your mental health. It is vital to be compassionate with yourself and reach out for support from loved ones. If you are finding it hard to cope, seek professional help.
2. Relationship Issues.
Most ultra-high-net-worth individuals live hectic and busy lives. Many work long hours, frequently travel, and spend their free time often away from home. As a result, Covid-19 has profoundly disrupted their routines, leading many to feel out of control. Most UHNW people are accustomed to having their team always around them, and the loss of that support system can lead to increased feelings of vulnerability.
Alternatively, wealthy families may be experiencing increased tensions. Children in affluent households tend to have similar jam-packed lifestyles to their parents. As a result, spending so much time together can now feel strange. While it offers us the chance to reconnect, it can also increase stress. Specifically, during difficult times, we need support and a semblance of normality. If we are accustomed to time apart from our loved ones, spending more time together can feel abnormal. As a result, it can make one feel as though they are losing control, which further increases stress levels. It will take time to reconnect with each other and adapt to this new normal. The stress this process causes can result in unresolved family issues, sibling rivalries, or marital issues resurfacing.
If arguments continue to break out in your household, try to put boundaries in place. For instance, create a code word for when tensions are high, and you need time out. Avoid falling into the trap of comparing yourself to the mythical perfect family next door.
3. Substance Abuse.
For UHNW individuals who were struggling with substance abuse pre-Covid-19, pandemic-related stress could exacerbate these issues. When times are tough, successful individuals are accustomed to working harder, not slowing down, and staying home. Further, many successful people have relied on their unhealthy work-life balance to avoid personal issues. As such, self-isolation has, at times, acted as a forced confrontation with these underlying issues. People might be substituting their dependency on achievement with a dependency on substances.
If you have noticed an increase in your consumption of unhealthy substances, it is essential to focus on managing your cravings. For instance, try to replace cigarettes with nicotine patches, or try to stick to your pre-crisis routine. If you usually only have a drink at the weekends, stick to that routine. In addition, try to observe your thought process and inner voices that trigger cravings for unhealthy substances. It can help us feel more in control when we take the time to process our thoughts and feelings.
Finally, it is essential to remember that, throughout history, adversity has often led to significant advancements and opportunities. While many successful individuals are going through immense turbulence, they are also finding themselves re-focused, innovative, and able to respond successfully. Humans have always been highly adaptive, and we will not only get through this crisis, but we will grow from it.