CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Psychologists Against Austerity | Mobilising Psychology for Social Change

Austerity policies have damaging psychological costs, both increasing mental distress in the present and storing problems for the future. This can be demonstrated with robust and well-established psychological research.

We have identified five ‘Austerity Ailments’, which are specific psychological pathways between austerity policies and increased mental distress. These are:

  • Humiliation and Shame
    • Prolonged humiliation following a severe loss trebles the chance of being diagnosed with clinical depression. Shame and humiliation are endemic in experiences of poverty, which has increased during austerity.
  • Fear and Mistrust
    • Austerity has been driven through with a politics of fear and mistrust. Loss of trust underlies several forms of mental distress. Low levels of trust increase the chance of being diagnosed with depression by nearly 50%.
  • Instability and Insecurity
    • Job insecurity, which has increased during austerity, is as damaging for mental health as unemployment.
  • Isolation and Loneliness
    • Austerity has shut down many crucial communal resources. Social isolation is poisonous for mental health and recovery; loneliness is as damaging to health as smoking or drinking alcohol.
  • Being Trapped and Powerless
    • Long term entrapping life experiences nearly treble the chances of being diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

Psychologists Against Austerity | Mobilising Psychology for Social Change

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