energy crisis causes more psychological problems

energy crisis causes more psychological problems
energy crisis causes more psychological problems

“As a result of the economic problems, even more people are experiencing psychological difficulties,” says CM chairman Luc Van Gorp in an interview with De Morgen. A study by health fund CM shows the unequal risk of mental problems: people who have a hard time making ends meet are at a higher risk of psychological problems.

“Among people with an income of 750 euros per month, more than 17 percent suffer from anxiety disorders and 10.7 percent from depression,” says Van Gorp. “For those with an income of more than 2,500 euros per month, that is only 7.4 and 2.5 percent, figures from Sciensano tell us.”

As a result, experts fear that rising energy prices will push even more people down. “Today there is a very great fear among people in poverty, but now also among the middle class, that they will lose their prosperity and well-being as a result of high energy bills and increased rents”, says Heidi Degerickx, general coordinator of the Network. Poverty.

It is even more worrying that rising energy prices are in line with the corona crisis. “Then the demand for help rose sharply,” says Koen Lowet, spokesperson for the psychologists’ association VVKP. He expects this to happen again now. What’s more, according to Sara Willems, professor of social inequality in health care (UGent), the energy crisis is having an impact on it. “On top of that reduced resilience, now comes the financial stress of unpaid bills,” she says. Both Lowet and Willems therefore call CM’s fears “very justified”.

Prevention

People in (disadvantaged) poverty are already at greater risk of developing psychological problems. “It is always an interplay between a (innate) vulnerability and environmental factors,” says Lowet. “Think of it as a balance: if a lot of stress factors pile up – like now with the rising energy prices – then it completely flips to the other side.”

This group also finds it more difficult to find help. This is further complicated by the energy crisis. “Because what do people who can’t make ends meet do? They save on their expenses,” says Willems. “Health care, and certainly mental health care, is one of the first things they cut down.”

Van Gorp therefore argues for additional investments in preventive health care. “You avoid suffering and the health care system – which is already struggling with staff shortages – is less burdened,” he says.

He is also assisted in this by experts. “Ideally, we should be spending 10 to 12 percent of health spending on mental health,” Lowet says. “In Belgium we barely get to 6 to 7 percent, so roughly half of what we should be spending. We spend the majority of that budget on hospital beds. But very little budget goes to prevention.”

The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: energy crisis psychological problems

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