The Campaign



We believe that as applied psychologists in the UK 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 (Dec 2015) 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.

Read here about the five ‘Austerity Ailments’ we have identified, based on robust and long standing psychological evidence: 

Humiliation and Shame

Fear and Mistrust

Instability and Insecurity

Isolation and Loneliness

Being Trapped and Powerless

Read the evidence in full in our briefing paper

If you are a psychologist, it is really important that we are not just talking amongst ourselves. For this campaign to have an impact we must raise these issues with our local and national policy-makers as well as with the wider public. So share your professional concerns with your local and national representatives either by email, telephone or ideally face to face and write to your local and national press.

Want to get involved? 

Join us for marches or protests

Join our mailing list

Take part in some action

Contact your local group

41 thoughts on “The Campaign

  1. One of the most damaging (and I would say intentional) aims of austerity measures is the systematic erosion of a persons social and personal boundaries to leave them feeling unprotected, completely defenceless, hopeless and in real fear of anihilation. This is a psychological attack on a person at the most barbaric level that has been, and continues to be perpetrated by those who promote and support austerity measures.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I know personally how the DWP monolith intimidates through opaque process, and “sudden death” benefit decisions, all applied without any form of personal contact. One is truly reduced to atomic levels of inconsequence by them..I have two close friends who this last week have been through PIP and WCA, and both have suffered from steeply escalating levels of panic and distress. One can’t walk (5 joint replacements, osteoarthritis, and lung cancer), the other has severe psychological problems, and both have been very adversely affected by the process, irrespective of the outcomes. We need as many professional health groups as possible to join and campaign on our behalf, because we cannot cope with just trying to survive daily health issues, then the DWP, and then trying to form an opposition in a land we find increasingly hostile to our very existence.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Please include me on this list of Psychologists against Austerity.Could you let me know of any meetings
    or how i can contribute,I live in Belfast but we have another place in Islington London.

    Thanks Carmel Rodgers Charrtered Psychologist

    Liked by 2 people

    • Please join us at our meetings Carmel if you can. Details of these are on the ‘About Us’ page. We are looking for regional leaders to get involved and build local networks for the campaign. Could this be an option for you in Belfast? Thanks so much for your support.


  3. This is a time for all psychologically oriented disciplines to unite . The social causes of personal and relational distress should be the domain of concern and resultant communal action by all those involved in social care and mental health . Social workers psychiatrists ,nurses psychotherapists and teachers should unite with the profession of psychology to create a broad based opposition to the psychosocial consequences of austerity and the political contexts within which such austerity measures have been systematically employed .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. can someone give a brief definition of austerity? ive seen a bunch of people talking about it but no one is explaining what it is


  5. I recognise that Im becoming overwhelmed by fear because of the sustained attacks on the disabled. I started smoking again after quitting, andsleep badly now. Im seeing a “therapist” who I have to pay from my tiny pension. I dont think she has any answers! as she told me to go and see my GP.who sent me to the therapist in the first place!!!! I fear losing my Motability car through changes from DLA to PIP and all the horror stories. I dont want to be housebound.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your sharing your experiences. These cuts are difficult for so many people. We hope you find support that is helpful to you.

      You may be interested in an organisation we are pleased to call partners – Disabled People Against Cuts (see comment above)

      Hopefully knowing that you can join others to resist these welfare changes may help. All the very best and thank you.


  6. My background is in clinical psychology but I now apply my research skills in anti poverty research. I think it’s great that this group exists and I look forward to supporting the work you are doing.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The conservative government here in Australia is also heading in a similar direction, albeit masked/branded under different guises (aka the ‘inter generational report’). The most galling thing is they simultaneously cut essential social services while harping on about the ‘mental health crisis’ that their very policies and underlying ideology lead to. Good luck with campaign, I certainly stand in solidarity.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Can you make your ‘The Psychological Evidence’ in to (re) tweetable thoughts – this way people will be able to cut and paste each of the points with a link back to here – and your campaign will really be able to develop – good luck.


  9. Whatever else we are not being human is about living communally-whether successful or not. Politics is about power and allocation of communal resources just as it is on a micro scale for the community of the family. In a national society (like the global community) where resources for securing and sustaining the ‘good life’ i.e. personal and interpersonal well being are grossly and unjustly misplaced so psychotherapists have to cut not only against the grain of psychic distress but the aggravating conditions of social resourcing. Those who have us believe that ‘austerity’ i.e. having to make do with few of the given and necessary ‘goods’ for well being to flourish are not only discouragers of well being but as Erich Fromm argues their thinking is a product of disordered, anti-social self-acquistional thought.

    Psychotherapists collectively I feel must begin train ourselves to embrace theories and approaches that embrace a sensibility of the interactivity of communal ‘Otherness’ as much as the individual ‘Other’ in the creation of identity and well being. This requires a new political consciousness to democratically uphold those parities which reach out for promoting the “common good” and not the self aggrandisement and enrichment of those who have manipulated and cajoled their way into positions of power and control. An impossible dream? Never!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Regardless of the outcome of the election today, psychologists will have to do more to fight for our patients against these ideological cute and austerity- a labour government still speaks with the rhetoric of austerity and free market capitalism, and the poorest will still feel the bite of the stigma and discrimination of the right wing press. I am glad to see psychologists taking a stand on this matter as we are in a unique position to be able to work with both the system in terms of commissioning and the individual.


  11. Keep up the great work! Just shared your page with Organise Exeter which is a local action group against Austerity. If your members are local or in the area, let me know because it would be great if you wanted to run a talk with us about this side of austerity measures. We are starting up a podcast to tell the stories of people affected which will also tap into the psychological dimension, your input would be welcomed. With best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi – I am a Clinical Psychologist still employed in the NHS; am sure you are aware that amongst other bills creeping in which will drive people further into poverty, there was a ‘stealth’ bill put forward for privatisation of the NHS last week – see – am hoping that this group which I have now joined can be active on protesting these. Austerity creates ill populations who will need access to the NHS; paying for it is NOT an option. Let me know how I can get involved in your campaigns including I hope ‘anti-austerity in the NHS’, Jenny Petrak


  13. The August Walk – you requested help finding places to witness/film on the anti austerity walk last week in August. Here are some ideas of charities to contact who will have a mass of information for you – sorry, if you have already thought of all these:

    1. Save the Children and Oxfam – now support poor children in UK
    2. Trussell Trust were the first official charity running foodbanks across the country
    3. Other foodbank charities – FairShare, FoodCycle – distribute surplus from supermarkets
    4. Prince’s Trust
    5. Birmingham Central Mosque – teams up with local charities to run foodbanks

    Hope this helps – its a great idea and I wish you all the best on it

    Julie Bullen CPsychol


  14. May I encourage Psychologists against Austerity members to travel in the local coaches to the 4th October demonstration in Manchester. This supports those organising the coaches ( a considerable cost to raise), is an act of solidarity with others going on the demo, and means you can talk to fellow demonstrators and make political links in your area. I’m going from Harlow with local anti-cuts activists and those outraged by the anti-trade union legislation. We should defend Corbyn’s anti-austerity platform and have a presence too, as trades unionists, at the Unite the Resistance National Conference on 15th November in London ( ) which will be addressed by new Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. There could still be time for PAA to have a speaker at this conference. Julie Chase


  15. I’ve lived with personality disorder since I was a child and because of trauma became a voice hearer too . Because I was so young these became a part of myself without even knowing it and through innocence grew knowing nothing until in later years when I had a psychotic episode it all came to light , I’m glad it did and I’m happy in who I am . I accept myself , understand myself completely and I’m so happy to be an introvert , deep thinker and constant soul searcher . These traits make me a very compassionate person … Couldn’t ask more of myself


  16. I was curious as to whether Psychologists Against Austerity is/will extend their interest beyond austerity to other social inequalities (such as the refugee crisis) and income equality more broadly?


    • Individuals are doing other pieces of work around specific issues like the refugee crisis and we are working on other briefing papers that relate to broader issues around how the economic is organised and mental health. Please do get involved by joining a working group and making suggestions, we’d be very pleased to hear your ideas. THanks so much.


    • I support your aims wholeheartedly . I am a family therapist and trained social worker . I am interested to hear of transdisciplinary action against austerity between all mental health and social care practitioners . Solidarity is the key to making an impact I think .

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Do we need to sign up or RSVP for the events listed in the right hand column? I would like to attend the March 15th event. how do I sign up?


    • Hi please just come along to any events you can as listed, no sign up required. Or indeed set up your own events! You can sign up to the mailing list for general updates and/or you can email us to get specific information if you need to. You can also follow us on twitter at @CommPsychUK. Hope that helps. Thanks so much.


  18. Hi,

    Can anyone recommend any papers that review the effect of increasing waitlist times on psychological wellbeing and therapeutic outcome measures.



  19. There are austerity measures and there has always been measures to undermine the security of the vulnerable , as a vulnerable person I understand this all too well . You Psychology graduates who hold your prestige oh so high are now worried for yourselves and not the vulnerable individuals you supposedly care for , you have never been bothered about measures taken until now your prestigious jobs are at risk . The ship is sinking and the vulnerable have all been thrown overboard and now the Government are looking at you …..tell me , how does it feel to live in fear or should I tell you .
    Your jobs are at risk and only now are the Psychologists speaking up , take a long hard look cos your gonna know what it is to have lost


    • HI Mark, we can understand your perspective and thank you for writing this comment. Psychologists have not been very good at standing up for social justice in the past. Often professional interests are put first; true of many professions.
      There are some examples of psychologists who have worked for many years to raise the issue of how society can undermine the security of vulnerable people and how ‘therapy’ itself is not always the right response. We would recommend the work of David Smail, which goes back many years, as an example of a psychologist who really led the way:
      He inspired many of us.
      Many psychologists, therapists and others involved in PAA are trying to do more to speak out and to address the concerns you raise. We are not simply calling for more funding for our profession (although we think having better mental health services is important), but for more social justice in government policies. We know as health professionals we have a duty to speak out more in favour of policies that treat the vulnerable with respect, dignity and justice. We welcome your ideas on how we continue to do this and do it better.
      Thank you for your comment. It is an important reminder to all psychologists who read this website.


  20. If I may add to my comment on the issue at hand . I don’t think for one moment your profession understands the plight of the vulnerable , the fact that we suffer at the hands of every institution that aims to degrade us and those whom claim themselves professional who say their helping us at every turn and at every turn we suffer either professional hatred or incompetence .
    The very word professional draws a line that say us and them , your sid our side . Now I’ve not been to college or university, but I could stand shoulder to shoulder with any psychologist with knowledge that’s been self taught since I was a small boy , but I would never be accepted as anything other than the other side , this to me is called ignorance and I’ve suffered it again many times .
    I could help if you gave some respect , if you want ideas then I have many , but that would be me consulting and I’ve done for TEWV many times and was not paid ( like I said ” respect ” ) I was in my mind used and I swore never would I do that again .
    Are you at PAA willing listen and learn and accept our worth and change or do you want to be the same old stuffy institution that takes and takes , put your money where your mouth is and wash away the past and that line that says us and them .
    Yes I’m willing to help and yes I have the knowledge and ideas , the question is are you at PAA willing to change ?
    With regards
    Mark .


    • Wow , you guys have a way with words , beautiful words turned into a reply that says absolutely nothing at all to do with my question ….dull and cold to the bone . Public schooled with all the merits as Psychologists , lots of degrees , but out of touch with the real people of the world who have the common sense and common touch .
      So I take the answer to my question is no , see simple …just say NO .
      Thank you for your reply .
      Kindest of regards Mark .


      • Hi Mark,

        We would be really keen to hear more from you in person. We know we don’t always get things right. Our intention for the last comment was to agree with you! But then to also give one example of someone who was a psychologist but who did a better job, just to give hope to us all that there are some! Sorry if it came across as cold and ‘out of touch’.

        We really don’t want to create divides but know we probably have. We’ve had lots of discussions about whether to emphasise the ‘professional’ part of our identities, but felt that there were already several service-user/survivor campaign groups doing a better and more legitimate job than we could ever do. We try and work in partnership with them. But we decided that one thing we could helpfully do was rally our colleagues by using our ‘professional identity’ to get them actively doing something about some of the issues that are causing such distress. People from everywhere, including within psychology, are experiencing distress. But you’re right that some of us might never be able to fully understand the plight of some people who have been failed or abused by the system. And that there are people far more able to teach things about how to get through things than just what is learnt through formal training. We know that’s not reflected well in the way the system works at the moment though.

        We aren’t an organisation, we don’t have any funding. We’re just groups of psychologists and others who meet in our spare time to do something about these very issues. When anyone has come and shared their ideas and knowledge with us, we haven’t been able to pay them, but we have done an informal collection on the day so that between us we can cover their travel costs and refreshments. We don’t know where you’re based, so can only speak for the London branch, but we would be very happy to do this again. You would also be welcome to bring other people with you.

        We probably are all used to working in a field that does both unintentionally and intentionally lead to a sense of ‘us and them’, which disempowers others. You’re absolutely right, and we’re sorry if you’ve experienced that. But we are trying, and hope that we might do a better job in person. So let us know if you’d like to come to a meeting, or become a regular member – you would be more than welcome. Please email us at PAA


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