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How the political turmoil of the Brexit saga has damaged the mental health of a nation

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By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 26 June 2020

As Parliament sits for their historic knife-edge vote in the Commons today, Brexit is still dominating the headlines more than three years since its initial announcement. We are coming to the edge of the proverbial cliff as Boris claims to have struck a deal less than two weeks out from the final deadline, but there is doubt on all sides. While there’s a potential for the whole saga to come to a close in the near future, the constant ambiguity and negativity around Brexit has unquestionably contributed to the declining mental health of the UK.

Earlier this year, a survey by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that 4 in 10 of us have experienced feelings of powerlessness, anger and anxiety as a direct result of Brexit, while the SACP reported that one in three Brits claim that Brexit has negatively affected their mental health. One in eight of us reported problems with our sleep pegged to our protracted extrication from the European Union, and one in five of us say the whole process has caused high levels of stress.

This coincides with research by mental health treatment experts Smart TMS, which displays an overarching decline in the mental health of the UK. Their independent research has revealed that 1 in 4 Brits find themselves regularly cancelling plans so they don’t have to interact with other people, 1 in 4 Brits find basic functions (e.g. sleeping, showering) noticeably more difficult than they used to, and 17% of Brits now find that casual drinking regularly turns into binge drinking.

Gerard Barnes, CEO of Smart TMS, takes this opportunity to highlight the importance of changing attitudes towards mental health in the UK, and calls for action to provide more treatment options for the 17 million of us suffering from psychological problems:

“The Brexit saga has been occupying space in our minds for years, and with the constant coverage of the political volatility and uncertainty has caused a huge proportion of the UK to suffer from increased levels of stress, anxiety and may have contributed to the exacerbation of depression.

While the trajectory of our politics cannot be avoided, It is of paramount importance that we examine and explore various methods of mental health treatment to ensure that that the UK’s citizens have the support they need to deal with such events.

Treatment options such as TMS treatment, which are non-invasive and non-medicinal, are particularly effective as they minimise the potential for side effects and remove the potential of any drug-induced negative symptoms. If we can provide these treatments on a larger scale, it could revolutionise the approach to mental health treatment in this country and provide much-needed relief for millions of people struggling on a daily basis with a range of psychological issues.”