Asians are extra nervous about inflation than the pandemic — survey

Inflation has overtaken the coronavirus pandemic as the top concern among Asians, according to a mental health survey.

Inflation (47%) caused more mental health challenges than post-pandemic adjustment (30%), according to a survey conducted across 16 international markets between June and July 2022 by FWD Group Holdings Limited (FWD Group), a multinational insurance company out of Hong Kong. 

Released today, the survey also said that people in Asia worry about their jobs (31%) and family-related concerns, such as the future of children and other family members (34%) and increasing responsibilities (32%).

Positive reframing may hold the key to bridging the gap between mental health concerns and seeking support for it, according to the study released in time for World Mental Health Day.

“Given we also know that people may not be comfortable seeking help externally as individuals, family assumes a particularly important role,” said Joanna Chu, head of product proposition at FWD Group, in an Oct. 10 press statement.   

Even if nearly 65% of respondents in Asia believe that mental health will be a critical issue in the coming year, only a third are open to seeking external support.

A third (31%) also said that renaming the traditional term “mental health” might encourage more people to open up. 

“Opening up and addressing these challenges as a family unit first instead of individually, can make a difference as people may feel more comfortable,” said Ms. Chu. 

Cost of treatment was identified as one of the most significant barriers to receiving care for mental health challenges in Asia, with 40% saying that the cost of treatment is the biggest impediment to seeking outside help for mental health care. 

Over three-quarters (76%) of respondents expressed their interest in exploring insurance options to address such challenges. 

“While it’s great that mental health is gaining more and more awareness, especially in Asia, the stigma and cost of treatment remain barriers for people to seek the help they need. … As an insurer, we also look forward to making mental health protection more inclusive and focused on building mind strength, to enable people to celebrate living,” said Sim Preston, managing director and group chief operating officer at FWD Group. 

The FWD Group survey was conducted in collaboration with Blackbox, an independent research company. It interviewed more than 10,000 people across 16 international markets between June and July 2022, including nine markets where FWD operates: Cambodia; Hong Kong; Indonesia; Japan; Malaysia; the Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; and Vietnam. — Patricia B. Mirasol

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