My contribution for World Mental Health Day, written in 2013. This is about Belgium (and was written long before the pandemic hit), but it applies to many other countries as well- today even more than seven years ago.
Young people have to excel, score, win – if need be over the back of others – it’s everyone for themselves and you are fully responsible for your own success or failure. Doing better than the rest – and preferably also becoming a bit more prosperous than your parents, that is the message they have received.
In the meantime, 1 in 4 Flemish girls between 15 and 23 years old has a depression or other mental problems, the layoffs and burn-outs are piling up, everything becomes more expensive and we also have to save, so that our country can buy some fighter planes, because that must be done due to obligations to NATO.
We are at the top of our economic growth, the country is full of highways, there have never been as many people with breathing difficulties as today (hello, fine dust), in recent years we have ruined more than 40% of nature and sent countless animals worldwide to the eternal hunting grounds -everything to be able to continue to grow and to keep shareholders satisfied.
Neoliberalism sucks balls.
We should recharge our batteries together, see what’s really essential and indispensable in life -and what we can possibly do without (or share with others), work together, creating a human collaboration where people care for each other – especially for the weaker and older ones. That is where growth will be possible in the coming years.
Belgian politics are completely wrong at the moment and I do not understand people who have voted for this selfish approach.
Anyway, we’ll have to make do with it for now, but I sure hope that these are the last throes of the kind of capitalism that may have been useful in the 19th century, but is now completely outdated.
Living together is the only way forward, not letting everyone fend for themselves.