Brexit causing Scots to worry


A survey by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland has shown four in ten Scots have experienced negative emotions as a result of the Brexit process

22nd March 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Millions of Scots have felt powerless, worried and angry over Brexit.

Almost two million people in Scotland have experienced negative emotions over the last year because of leaving the European Union, according to a study from the Mental Health Foundation Scotland.

In a new poll, more than four in ten Scottish adults told pollsters that in the last year, Brexit had made them feel powerless (45%), angry (44%) or worried (43%).   

If extended to the whole Scottish population, this is estimated to be almost two million people feeling powerless, angry or worried.

Just over one in five people (21%) also said that in the last year they had felt anxious because of Brexit, while a similar proportion (19%) said it had caused them ‘high levels of stress’.

Brexit-related conflict also emerges from the survey as a fairly common experience, with more than one-in-ten (13%) of all Scottish respondents saying they had ever had a disagreement about Brexit with a family member or partner.

The poll was commissioned by the charity to look at the impact of the political environment on how people in Scotland are feeling, their sleep and their relationships. Problems with sleep, conflict with family and friends and feelings of powerlessness are all associated with higher levels of distress and poor wellbeing.

The poll of 1,025 adults living in Scotland also showed that almost one quarter (23%) of respondents said Brexit had not caused them to feel any particular emotions in the last 12 months.

Toni Giugliano of The Mental Health Foundation Scotland, said: “Feelings of powerlessness or worry are linked to a higher risk of mental health problems and they may also exacerbate existing difficulties.

“Our Brexit poll indicates the importance of our environments to our mental health. We also know, from other examples worldwide, that an unstable political environment can potentially affect people’s mental health.

“The number of people who said they felt high levels of stress or problems sleeping is also a concern and this may be linked to the 24/7 back-to-back reporting on the issue. 

“But there are things we can do to help protect our mental health and today we’re offering some advice about how people can look after their wellbeing in the face of Brexit. For instance, you could reflect on how news consumption is affecting you and consider muting news notifications on your smartphone and limiting yourself to reading a morning paper or watching the evening news.

"It's important to talk to others about how we're feeling and not suppress our emotions if we're feeling overwhelmed.

"If you're stressed about your long-term status at work because of changes in immigration or because your employment is vulnerable as a result of Brexit, talk to your HR colleagues to get assurances and contact your employer’s Employee Assistance Programme for psychological support."