Food, fuel and power cuts keep the SA middle class awake at night

While it has been a year without pandemic disruptions, 2022 hasn’t brought much relief from worry and stress, but is there any light at the end of the tunnel? The global economic downturn, war in Europe and climate catastrophes have tarnished the notion that a post-Covid upswing could happen. High inflation, food and fuel costs have maintained the month-to-month pressure to just make ends meet, let alone recoup losses from the lockdown years.

According to the latest annual Mental State of the World Report, South Africa has one of the lowest mental health scores in the world, and SADAG, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group estimates that one in six South Africans suffer from mental illness. disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Mental well-being is a critical factor that influences our motivation and drive, as well as our adaptability and resilience.

BrandMapp, the annual survey of more than 33,000 South Africans living in households with a monthly income of more than R10,000, has revealed its insights for 2022 into what keeps the country’s taxpayer tossing and turning at night. Brandon De Kock, Director of Storytelling at BrandMapp, says: “Despite new and different challenges emerging every year, middle to high income South Africans are more concerned about crime than anything else, and this has increased over time. not changed for years. While the last time we measured it, only 8% of respondents had experienced a non-violent crime and only 7% were victims of violent crime, this year we measured 63% of people who say that worrying about crime makes them awake at night. It has always been at the top of the list.”

No new worries, just much bigger ones!

While the perception of being seriously threatened by crime persists, 2022 saw several shifts in what causes us to count sheep rather than sleep soundly. Rising costs of food and fuel rose in the rankings, overtaking our concerns about corruption and there is also a 20% spike in people worried about Eskom’s power shortages. Despite having more resources to absorb the blow of the rising inflation that the country has experienced in 2022, middle to high income South Africans are concerned about the basic necessities of life.

De Kock says: “What BrandMapp 2022 shows us is that the mental stressors of middle to high income South Africans have increased, with several concerns moving up to top positions, while no other concerns have declined. So we are definitely more stressed than during the pandemic years. Concerns about rising costs have jumped dramatically from 38% to 54%, which is totally understandable, but it looks like 2022 is the year we all finally got tired of the lights going out. With power outages now registering as a serious concern for 52% of the middle class, this suggests we’ve reached a breaking point with Eskom. And significantly more people are concerned about the general availability of food and water in the country.”

Fears of water shortages are on the rise

De Kock says: “It is interesting to note that despite dramatic climate events around the world and severe climate stress in the country, from drought to flooding, only 32% of middle to high income South Africans say they are concerned make about the climate. change, the greatest existential threat of our time. What we have seen in 2022 is increased concern about water shortages, particularly among people living in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, who have had real-life experiences of flooding and drought, respectively. While these local events are clearly linked to climate change, this has not translated into a similar increase in concern about the global context.”

I’m fine, you’re fine

South Africa is nothing but a resilient nation, and BrandMapp 2022 shows a bright outlook despite the intensification of our concerns. Forty-two percent (42%) of the middle class say they are fine, and 49% say they are happy or very happy. Only 9% admit to being unhappy or very unhappy.

When it comes to personal well-being, nearly 75% take action to protect their mental and emotional state. Spa treatments, massages, meditation and herbal remedies are among the popular ways to relax and relieve stress. De Kock says, “I wonder if that 1% who microdose with magic mushrooms might know something the rest of us don’t!” He may not be joking at all. BrandMapp 2022 also confirms that 75% of middle to high income South Africans consume alcohol, a proven short-term way to forget about your worries, but a less successful strategy when it comes to sustainable wellness and improved mental health outcomes.

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Food, fuel and power cuts keep the SA middle class awake at night

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