Psychologists Against Austerity: mobilising psychology for social change

Source: PSYCHOLOGISTS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

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Psychologists Against Austerity are changing our name to reflect the full range of work that we do. We’re now Psychologists for Social Change!

Psychologists for Social Change is a network of applied psychologists, academics, therapists, psychology graduates and others who are interested in applying psychology to policy and political action.  We believe that people’s social, political and material contexts are central to their experiences as individuals.  We aim to encourage more psychologists to draw on our shared experience and knowledge to engage in public and policy debates.

The group started in 2014, when members of the London Community Psychology Network came together to address growing concerns about austerity policies. This lead to a number of meetings in London, and a workshop at the Community Psychology Section Festival. This lead to the development of the briefing paper on the Psychological Impact of Austerity. The briefing paper was launched at the House of Lords in March 2015, followed swifly by our first Week of Action. 

Since then, we have spread through the country with a number of local groups, and many more events, actions and publications.

Our central aims have remained the same since those first early meetings. They are: 

Mobilising Psychologists

One of our central missions has always been to encourage more psychologists to become involed in political and social action. To this end we have developed training for Clinical Psychology Trainees, spoken at conferences, and provided supervision for policy placements. 

Mobilising Psychological Knowledge

We also aim to disseminate psychological knowledge and research in ways that are relevant to current policy concerns. We understand that one of the resources that psychologists have is an understanding of communication and persuasion. This was the impetus for our briefing papers on the Psychological Impact of Austerity and Improving Discussion on Inequality.

Influencing Public and Policy Debates

Drawing on both these resources, of people and knowledge, we aim to move psychologically informed discussion into the public sphere. This has included examining specific policies for their psychological impact, as well as responding to specific policy announcements and media reports.

Campaigns and Actions

Psychologists Against Austerity (PAA) is an ongoing campaign highlighting the costs to mental health of austerity policies. This focusses both on the breadth and depth of cuts to public services and the austerity narrative which has been used to justify these cuts. 

As applied psychologists in the UK we believe it is our public and professional duty to be speaking out against the further implementation of austerity policies. From professional experience and our knowledge of empirical psychological evidence, we know that cuts have been toxic for people’s wellbeing and mental health.

Recent scientific evidence continues to demonstrate links between austerity policies and the nation’s worsening mental health and increasing mental health inequalities.

Responding to this, this campaign aims to mobilise psychologists and psychological knowledge to make a case against further austerity policies.

Publications 

Please visit the Psychologists for social change site for more details.

You can read and download Psychologists Against Austerity: mobilising psychology for social change, published as free content in Critical and Radical Social Work, Volume 4, Number 3, November 2016, pp. 409-413(5) here

Join your local group

Click through the ‘groups’ menu on here to find the group meeting nearest to you. 

If you don’t see a group near you, and you want to start one, click here.

You can also subscribe to our mailing list here.

 

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