Female with Head in Hands over Brexit

18 Nov 2019

Brexit: Effects on Mental Health

With another delay put on Brexit, experts have taken time to reflect on how Brexit has effected the people of United Kingdom. Brexit has been described as causing the kind of trauma only experienced through war or natural disasters an expert claimed, leading to a rapid rise in the use of anti-depressants.

In the days after Brexit, there was a dramatic rise in hate speech and xenophobia with The EU Referendum DEMOS analysis finding that 2413 incidents of hate speech and xenophobic abuse were reported in the 7 days after the Leave result, and 13,236 tweets sent in that time with xenophobic or anti-immigrant attitudes (Heald et al., 2018). This increase in racist behaviour has had an adverse affect on people’s mental health.

Business owners and employees are also struggling to prepare for Brexit, with nearly half of employees (46%) worried about how Brexit will impact their employers business and the stability of their own jobs (YouGov). Job stress has a large impact on a persons mental health and with the instability Brexit has provided for small businesses in particular, this has heightened in recent years.

Furthermore, those with chronic illnesses that need daily prescribed medication have come under further pressure to ensure that they have enough medication incase of a no-deal Brexit. Some individuals with illnesses such as Diabetes or heart disease have admitted skipping medication or ordering more than they need in order to stockpile to prepare for the possibility of a limited supply. (Quartz – Inside the minds of the UK’s most stressed out Brexit Preppers)

These added pressures around healthcare, jobs, increased racism and the UK’s economy as a whole have all lead to higher levels of anxiety and stress. In research carried out by the UK Mental Health Foundation in March, where 1 in 10 people were having sleeping problems due to Brexit, 20% were reporting anxiety and 59% of Remainers were left feeling powerless after the Leave result.

It is clear that the uncertainty surround Brexit has caused high levels of stress and anxiety for many people. This is likely to continue until a resolution has been reached or beyond. At The Eaves, we have qualified counsellors who are able to help you work through stressful life events such as Brexit, with appointments available 9am to 9pm, Monday to Saturday.