Professionals fear for mental health of expats stressed out by Brexit

Published:  7 Jan at 6 PM
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According to professional psychotherapists, vulnerable British expats living in EU member states may be suffering from severe mental health issues due to Brexit.

The situation has worsened since the dire possibility of a no-deal exit has edged closer to becoming reality, with high levels of stress and anxiety amongst expats as a result. One qualified psychotherapist now living in Italy considers the entire process of Brexit has been traumatic and abusive for both UK and EU expatriates. Keeping expats in a deliberately–induced state of limbo for two and a half years, she says, counts as abuse.

Results of a recent survey by the Brexpats Hear Our Voice protest group revealed that 284 out of the 300 EU-based respondents admitted they were suffering from anxiety or stress. To make matters worse, 66 per cent said the devaluation of sterling had caused financial losses, and over half said the situation had caused strained relationships between them and their friends and families. Others said the threat to their lives had distracted them from work-related tasks and everyday activities. Some 33 per cent admitted they’d had trouble getting a good night’s sleep ever since the referendum result was announced.

Sadly, it’s not just British expats in Europe who are suffering anxiety and stress due to Brexit, as the same is true for EU expats in the UK, especially if they are part of a minority. Britain’s Roma communities are under threat as they are mostly itinerant, and EU citizens who’ve lived in the UK for years and have lost their original documents are another group at risk. Widows living alone are especially vulnerable to clinical depression. According to Nicholas Hatton, chair of the 3Million group representing EU expats in the UK, the human rights of some 5 million expatriates should never have been part of the Brexit negotiations.
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