Two in five Scots feel ‘powerless’ over Brexit – survey

By Hilary Duncanson, Press Association Scotland
Around one fifth said it had caused them high levels of stress in the last year.

More than two-fifths of Scots have felt powerless, angry or worried in the last year because of Brexit, according to a charity survey.

And around one in five people said the situation surrounding Britain’s exit from the EU has caused them anxiety or high stress levels.

The negative emotions were felt both by those who voted to leave and to remain in the EU.

The study was commissioned by The Mental Health Foundation Scotland to look at the impact of the political environment on how people are feeling, their sleep and their relationships.

According to the calculations, just over one in 10 people (11%) reported that Brexit has caused them sleep problems and 13% said it had prompted a disagreement with a family member or partner.

Almost half (45%) said that Brexit had made them feel powerless, while 44% admitted they felt angry and 43% told the survey they were worried about the situation.

Some 19% said it had caused them “high levels of stress” and 21% said they had felt anxious over the last 12 months because of Brexit.

On the other hand, 7% said Brexit had made them feel hopeful, while others declared that they were happy (3%) and confident (2%) as a result.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents said Brexit had not caused them to feel any particular emotions in the last 12 months.

Toni Giugliano, from the foundation, said: “Our poll suggests that nearly two million adults in Scotland have experienced a range of negative emotions as a result of Brexit.

“This is true among both people who voted leave and remain. Almost three in five people (57%) who voted remain said they have felt powerless, while a third (33%) who voted leave felt the same thing.

“Feelings of powerlessness or worry are linked to a higher risk of mental health problems and they may also exacerbate existing difficulties.”

The charity is offering advice to people on how to look after their well-being as the Brexit situation unfolds.

Mr Giugliano said: “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.”

The online survey of 1,025 adults was carried out between March 14 and 18 this year.