Anxiety, depression, loss of vitality and reduced quality of sleep… the energy crisis and inflation are getting the better of Belgians’ morale

And it affects their mental health, reports Le Soir on Saturday.

Psychologists from UCLouvain, ULB, UGent and KULeuven surveyed some 18,400 Belgians (73% Dutch-speaking and 60% women) to understand the implications of the health situation, the war in Ukraine and the energy and financial crisis on their morale, concerns and well-being. Unsurprisingly, notes Le Soir, it is financial concerns that dominate. The data reveals that it is mainly women, people with a lower level of education or unemployed who report more financial worries. Psychologists are seeing a sharp increase in concerns about the situation in general, reaching almost the same level as during the second lockdown in October 2020 and during the omicron tidal wave in January 2022.

“There are two important messages to remember”, summarizes the professor of social psychology Vincent Yzerbyt (UCLouvain), one of the co-authors of the report. “First, worry about financial and health aspects increases dramatically, leading to anxiety, even depression, loss of vitality and reduced quality of sleep. As a result of this, we see that the climate crisis and the war are relegated to the background”. For the specialist, this suggests that ‘macro’ problems worry people mainly insofar as they affect their own daily lives. And to insist on a constant already measured in previous reports: it is only by understanding the issues and their repercussions that we win the support of the population for certain measures. “The efforts required must be inserted into a larger narrative that provides tools to understand the how and why”.

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