Brexsh*t & It's Harmful Effect on Our Mental Health

By Amber Pullen

With all the uncertainty of Brexit, is our mental health being overlooked during this political whirlwind? For the last three years Brits and beyond have been engulfed in the Brexit journey, yet still we seem to be none the wiser about what is truly happening. With the continuous indecision and whispered clauses that come with Brexit, is there really any wonder why a Britain Thinks poll indicated 64% of people are struggling with their mental health due to Brexit.

In 2016 over 70% of 18-24 year olds voted remain, compared to the 60% of over 65 year olds that voted leave. However, The Independent recently stated that a survey had determined that our elders’ mental health was being largely affected by Brexit. It was recorded that 37% of over 65 year olds stated their mental wellbeing had been negatively impacted, compared to 28% of 16-24 year olds.

Needless to say its chaotic nature has overwhelmed our society and left us with more than just a few pessimistic thoughts. Whether we are worried about trade, medical supplies, where we can travel, or national/ international living situations, the continual dread of these are at the forefront each and every day.

Theresa, 28, from Manchester has studied and worked in the UK for five years after moving over from Germany. Theresa is in the midst of applying for settled status, however the clarity of Brexit has not helped her situation. She says:

“I try not to worry too much, but being confronted with the topic every day, it is difficult. Will our rights be protected or not? Nobody seems to have a plan anymore and nobody really gives you a lot of reassurance. It just feels like we're stuck in limbo. All of this insecurity is a big stress factor in my daily life. ”

With a notable increase for mental health services already, it ponders the question whether there will be an even higher demand for mental health support once a deal is accepted. When you look at that statistics it begs no questions as to why self-help book sales are at a record high in Britain and why mental health services are being acutely stretched.

Naomi, 34, from Somerset suffers with depression and anxiety, however these were both managed. Since Brexit has unfolded Naomi revealed:

“I have seen a significant increase in my anxiety symptoms. The uncertainty surrounding what happens when we leave and the impact it will have on all of us hasn't helped at all. I have also found some of it very hard to understand and get my head around - I suffer with anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia, with the latter causing 'brain fog'. It seems to me that we are being told so much that contradicts itself, and that each day there is a new drama unfolding. It's very hard to keep on top of, which only adds to the confusion and uncertainty.”

Naomi is also cautious of the amount we have already spent on Brexit and worries that our NHS will suffer even more. She recognises that the NHS is already underfunded, understaffed and overstretched, especially for Mental Health suffers:

"I also worry about the supply of medication once we leave the EU. My father who is a type 1 diabetic has already had to change from the insulin he has used for the last 50 years, to a synthetic insulin because the former is manufactured in Europe.

Again I worry that not only will prescription costs go up even further, but access to specialist help and therapies will be harder to come across as demand increases, budgets are squeezed and we begin to feel the effects not only of these cuts, but also of specialist care practitioners who may choose to locate themselves elsewhere. "

An unsettling amount of money has already been spent on the Brexit campaign which makes the whole ordeal even more devastating. We can see our nations resources are already stressed, the NHS under extreme pressure and a nation now filled with even more health issues, specifically mental health. It is distressing to see budgets being thrown in other directions, as opposed to the areas that could help the nation from detrimental mental health issues and beyond.

A movement that was supposedly meant to bring a nation together and make us stronger, when in actuality it appears to be doing the opposite. With all the turbulent propaganda Brexit has caused has this in fact derailed the main origin and purpose of Brexit?

It would be inadequate to deny the deterioration of the nation’s mental health since the beginning of Brexit. The ongoing uncertainty and indistinctness of Brexit is sending the nations stress levels to an all-time high. With all the chaos Brexit has caused, what it may and may not offer us, it would be reasonable to expect our government to take our nations mental health into serious consideration during this manic uncertainty; to take control of a situation that is damaging our nation’s mental well-being.

If you’ve been struggling with your mental health or are having suicidal thoughts, or you know somebody who is, these are the numbers to call to get some help.

Samaritans: 116 123

CALM: 0800 58 58 58

Papyrus (for those under 35): 0800 068 41 41

Childline (for children and young people under 19): 0800 1111

The Silver Line (for the elderly): 0800 4 70 80 90

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