In the aftermath of the EU Referendum, 45% of Britons say they’re experiencing increased levels of anxiety, according to a new study.
The study, co-ordinated by anxiety and panic attack specialists Dr Stephen Cox and Dr Michael Sinclair on behalf of bcalm, found that the main source of anxiety are general uncertainty about the UK’s future (33%) and the economic impact of Brexit (18%).
The survey of 2,000 UK adults, conducted in the week after the referendum, found the other top causes of anxiety to be:
• Rising hostility to foreign-born residents and immigrants (12%)
• Uncertainty around whether Article 50 will be triggered (8%)
• Rise in the cost of living (6%)
• Fears that Scotland will vote to leave the UK (4% nationally, 15% in Scotland)
• Fear of being blamed for voting a certain way – 5% of Leave voters cited this as their top cause of anxiety, compared to 0.2% of Remain voters.
The study also found that 79% of Remain voters said they are experiencing a spike in anxiety, with rising hostility the biggest driver of anxiety, aside from general uncertainty and economic impact. Meanwhile, 31% of those who didn’t vote also feel more anxious, but just 17% of Leave voters are experiencing increased anxiety.
Young people aged 18-24-year-olds felt the most acute increase in anxiety, with 62% reporting an increase, compared to the national average of 45%. Over-55s reported the least increase in anxiety, although 39% still reported feeling more worried.
The survey also revealed differing anxieties depending on gender. Women are 10% more likely than men to be experiencing a post-Referendum anxiety spike and are 64% more likely than men to be anxious about rising hostilities toward foreign-born residents and immigrants. Women are also 24% more likely than men to worry about being blamed for how they voted.
Meanwhile, men are 150% more likely as women to be anxious about jobs post-Brexit and are 25% more likely to be anxious about the economy.
Of those who were already experiencing anxiety, 53% said they were currently experiencing a spike in their symptoms, with 31% saying their symptoms have worsened “moderately” and 22% saying their symptoms have worsened “significantly”.
Hayley Smith, 28, owns a PR firm, Boxed Out PR, and voted to Remain. She feels extremely anxious for her own future and that of her business. “The uncertainty is making me feel the most anxious. The fallout from the results, including shock resignations and people going back on their words is quite terrifying and has proven that this should have never been a public vote.
“As a business owner, I don't know whether I am coming or going, and have already been affected, with deals being postponed and cancelled because other EU countries are scared and unsure. We are currently extremely vulnerable, without a powerhead, and racism is currently being disguised as nationalism and the people who we should be able to turn to have no answers or solutions, just excuses and blame of other parties.
“I am currently a train wreck of emotions. I am angry - furious angry, concerned, worried, depressed, terrified, confused and sad. The country that I call home voted for something that they don't understand, based on pathetic headlines and media scare tactics, and are attacking everything this country stands for. I have lost sleep, I am lacking focus and concentration, and I have been getting headaches.”
To read the full report, click here