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Psychologist calls for more support for Brexit-anxious Britons

Wednesday 10 April 2019

A LEADING political psychologist has warned of the effect Brexit is having on the mental health of Britain.

Dr Ashley Weinberg says that Brexit uncertainty is creating "strong feelings of anxiety and disempowerment", especially among those who are running businesses or have family or work-relationships with Europe.

And he called for people to "pull together" to come up with solutions "to make us feel strong as a community" regardless of whether we leave or we remain in the EU.

During a conference at the University of Salford's MediaCityUK campus, Dr Weinberg, senior lecturer in occupational psychology, said: “I am certain that Brexit is having a psychological impact on the vast majority of Britons.

'Do more to help'

"Whatever part of the community you’re from, it's a serious problem - from the uncertainty people are experiencing, the unknown effect on your livelihood or the question of your role in society or your citizenship

"We should be doing more for those who feel disempowered whether they voted leave or remain.

Dr Weinberg suggested even with his extensive professional experience, he is still unsure as to the precise psychological impact the Euro-trauma is having.

However it keen to focus on the positives people are to take from the situation.

Positives

“People are feeling a sense of inertia which is why it is important to try and take away some positives and look at what we have got, not what we might be losing.

"There are opportunities and there are challenges, whatever happens with Brexit, and Britain needs to make sure it can encourage and enthuse its people to be an international success.” 

The discussion event was organised by the British Psychological Society Student Committee, in particular by deputy chair Eve Bent, an undergraduate student at Salford.      

Dr Weinberg is chair of the BPS's political section, editor of ‘The Psychology of Politicians’ (2012; Cambridge University Press),  and teaches on degree courses in Psychology and Psychology and Counselling at Salford.

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Gareth Hollyman, Senior Press & PR Officer (Science)