Argentina’s Economic Crisis Takes a Toll on Mental Health: Surge in Anxiety and Struggles to Access Psychological Services

Argentina's Economic Crisis

In Buenos Aires, psychologist Jesica Bianchiotti, 35 years old, is moving through a changed therapeutic landscape.

Gone are her sessions where she would casually chat about the weather or sports; now, everything is focused on discussing the country’s economic issues, political uncertainties, and people struggling to make a living.

Argentina has had its share of economic turmoil in the past but currently, it is experiencing one of its most severe financial crises.

The local currency has depreciated following an unprecedented inflation that has gone beyond 140 percent.

This state of affairs is visible and seen by many as shopping for food becomes a nightmare.

During this period Bianchiotti says she experienced a sharp rise in the number of patients presenting with conditions related to stress.

As such, there is pervasive feeling of anxiety among people including sleep disturbances and fear affecting judgment capabilities for future plans.

Remarkably, Argentina has more psychologists per capita than any other nation globally.

With almost 194 psychologists for every 100000 people therapy sessions are popular for anyone with mental health issues.

In his book People Passionate Pleasure, Gabriel Rolon observes that the demand for psychological help has reached unprecedented levels.

Besides, this is the ‘best-loved’ course to go for by collegegoers who seek access to high-status institutions.

However, this increase in access to psychological services falls short of meeting demand. Bianchiotti describes the alarming state patients come to her office in; they are usually extremely anxious and have trouble concentrating or relaxing.

Anxiety becomes a disabling disorder when it takes over ordinary responses to threats resulted into symptoms like dizziness shaking headache fatigue.

In study conducted by University of Buenos Aires shows over half respondents said they had gone through “crisis,” economy was cited as major problem even more than family relationships concern among others at work place.

A staggering seventy-five out every hundred respondents suffered from lack of sleep which disproportionately affected those with fewer resources.

Nevertheless, around 35 percent of people who need psychological treatment cannot afford it.

Although public hospitals provide free psychological services, austerity measures have made it more difficult for the financially weak members of society to access these services.

For those with a little bit of money, private therapy is also available, though this costs more and has flexible programs.

The latest presidential elections had a strong focus on economic policies with libertarian candidate Javier Milei emerging as the winner.

Milei’s promise to cut down government expenditure has created anxiety among mental health professionals.

The mental health system is already strained and budget cuts or lack of attention to psychology could make it worse.

Fabian Maero, a psychologist and professor, argues that mental health practitioners should not only concentrate on individual problems but also put them into perspective by considering broader socio-economic contexts.

Julieta Bieber works as an administrative assistant and she well represents many individuals’ sense of hopelessness that come from an unstable economy.

To her and countless others living everyday life is affected by inflation which means that they no longer fully enjoy their lives.

The Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WIN) together with Voices carried out a survey that showed Argentina’s national mood was not good, with only 68% of respondents from the country reporting positively.

In Argentina, people are tired and bitter because of the ongoing state of affairs. It is not easy to be calm as advised by doctors when all odds turn against someone like in the case of Bieber.

Professionals in mental health worry that under the next government, it is unclear how mental health services will be, thus leading to more non-focus on counseling and related fears that could worsen problems of mental health among its population.

As the economic uncertainty continues its grip on Argentina, communities are becoming more distressed with their citizens’ state of mind begging for cheap accessible psychological services almost at crisis proportions.

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  • Argentina's Economic Crisis Takes a Toll on Mental Health: Surge in Anxiety and Struggles to Access Psychological Services