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Apr 17th, 2015

The Psychology of Austerity

By Alexander Lusted

A group of mental health professionals have come together under the banner of Psychologists Against Austerity (PAA) to highlight the psychological impact of austerity.

Now, with only a few weeks to go before the general election, PAA have started a campaign calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the psychological damage austerity has wreaked across the UK.

You can sign their petition here:

Here’s what Sally, a member of PAA, has to say:

As members of a profession which comes into direct contact with people’s suffering, we feel it is essential to call attention to the effects of austerity measures on the poorest and most marginalised in society.

As a result of austerity measures, increasing numbers of people are now trapped in poor, overcrowded housing, abusive situations, insecure and low paid employment. In addition, they are now shamed for being poor. This is a recipe for mental health distress.”

Psychologists Against Austerity argues:

Britain’s poorest communities have been hit the hardest by austerity; nearly a million people in the UK had to rely on a food bank in 2014. 84% of people who attend food banks report being humiliated by the experience, and 43% hide the experience from their children. Prolonged experiences of humiliation treble the chance of being diagnosed with depression

Brutal cuts to public services are a political choice, not an economic necessity. Policies which directly increase mental distress in the present and future are not only inhumane, they also make poor business sense. Mental distress already costs employers nearly £26 billion per year.”

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PAA has grown into a network of Psychologists, therapists and other community members and allies from across the country:

We believe that it is time to come together and collectively challenge austerity. As an early step in this, we are calling for a parliamentary inquiry to assess the full psychological impact of Austerity.”

Read up on Psychologists Against Austerity’s findings here; Find out about their Week of Action starting April 20th; and together lets join their call for an inquiry into the damaging effects of Austerity:


If there’s an issue close to your heart that you’d like to campaign on, you can set up your own petition here:

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