With the abrupt stoppage of the monthly returns, on their life-saving investments made with Amber Dalal coming to a halt since February/ March, many senior citizens, single mothers, and widows are finding themselves in a financial lurch. Uncertainty of getting their money back, and the guilt of having referred Dalal to their extended families and friends, are also causing additional mental stress, and anxiety among the duped investors.

City-based psychiatrists caution these investors to go slow and stop blaming themselves for the wrong happenings. Psychologists and Psychiatrists, caution that any behavioural change or mood swings, should not be ignored, and timely help may prevent any untoward happening of causing self-harm, including assisting in overcoming issues of anxiety and uncertainties within the families.

Loss of  confidence

Ramon Magsaysay award-winning psychiatrist Dr Bharat Vatwani said,  “Society’s emphasis on materialism, seen in every advertisement, influences human behaviour, fostering a desire for wealth. This leads to susceptibility to get-rich-quick schemes, causing abrupt collapses, and consequent emotional distress, results in loss of face, loss of confidence, heightened anxiety, disturbed sleep and the occurrence of suicidal thoughts.”

Repentance and relief

“Repentance does not bring relief, purely because the actual financial damage is, more often than not, irreparable. There is no going back and the future, given the distraught state of mind, becomes difficult to negotiate and come to terms with. Ensnared, with no way out of the Web of Greed, the options are limited and occasionally culminate in a final suicide,” cautioned Dr Vatwani.

The isolated need support

“In a world driven by angst and primitive emotions, isolated individuals, particularly the elderly, often succumb to anxiety and insecurity, becoming emotionally blind and making irrational investments fuelled by greed. To avoid this, it’s essential to reflect rationally, consult experts, and involve family for proper due diligence,” explained psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty.

Instant prosperity

In this scenario, many individuals have invested their life savings in haste, without seeking broader consultations or even informing their families. In a world plagued by disconnection and loneliness, where emotional sharing is rare, elders are lured by the promise of instant prosperity and fail to recognise the hidden risks. It’s crucial to thoroughly vet all investment schemes, especially those offering high returns, to avoid scams or financial disasters. Prioritize reading, reflecting, and seeking advice from experts and peers before making any decisions. Additionally, elders should open up about their anxieties and uncertainties with their families and consider consulting a psychologist to clarify their thoughts and make mindful investments,” Dr Shetty added.

Professor (Dr) P Madhava Soma Sundaram, former President, of the Indian Society of Criminology and Professor of the Criminology Department at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tamil Nadu, said, “In criminology, these crimes are termed ‘Crimes of Greed’ rather than ‘Crimes of Need.’ The perpetrators bypass regulatory directives by attracting investors without proper accreditation, leading to scams like chit funds. Initially targeting a few individuals, they build trust by delivering promised returns, eventually expanding the scheme until it collapses, as seen in the recent case of Amber Dalal. The mastermind’s actions have devastating consequences for countless families.”

Guilt is nothing but crippling of emotions, or in other words, it is a by-product of our actions, conflicting with our own or externally imposed beliefs and morale code. And in this case too, many would be going through this psychological phenomenon of self-guilt, as they may hold themselves responsible for the financial losses of their other family members or friends, who were roped into the investment scheme, by them. Such a situation will lead to a person being pushed into anxiety, and depression and at times may even have suicidal thoughts, and hence such thoughts should be tackled with the assistance of trained professionals, explained Professor Sundaram.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help

“When faced with sudden financial turmoil due to fraudulent activities, individuals who once enjoyed stable returns find themselves in a challenging situation of maintaining a particular standard of living and status within the society. Adjusting to a life without the expected income and the uncertainty of legal battles can be incredibly difficult, especially for seniors and single mothers. They must seek assistance to navigate the physical and mental challenges they now face, ensuring they can overcome this ordeal and maintain their well-being,” Professor Sundaram concluded.


Vandrevala Foundation: 9999666555

Helpline KIRAN (1800-599-0019)

National Tele Mental Health Helpline: 14416 or 1-8008914416 (round the clock)
Aasra: 9820466726

Samaritans: 8422984528/ 29/30 (5pm to 9 pm)
BMC MPOWER 1800 120 820050 (24 by 7)

ICALL (TISS): 9152987821 (10am to 8pm- Mon to Sat)

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