Many are affected, so I'm now offering Brexit specific support
We live in interesting times.
Particularly interesting if we are British living in Britain or the EU, and EU citizens living in Britain.
Full disclosure - I am a British citizen living in the EU. It's not easy right now. But I'm sure that statement applies to us all.
Recent studies from research group Britain Thinks have shown that more than six in ten people believe the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit is bad for their mental health. As both a mental health professional and a person directly affected by the UK's impending departure from the EU I have no choice but to concur.
When I meet other British people living in France - it's often the first thing we talk about. When I meet French people and chat, they ask what I think of it - and a sad conversation generally follows. Seeing Britain from the outside and what Europeans think of it all has been eyeopening. Of course, every country is more focused on their own issues, but it still makes the news here. Mostly they can't understand how a country would want to leave a project that has provided the longest period of peacetime in living memory. And I wonder whether that is something to do with the impact the first and second world wars had here - the number of civilians who died and towns, even cities that were destroyed.
When I first moved to France I stayed near a village called Oradour-Sur-Glane while my house purchase was going through. There are signs on the motorway that depict ruins and I researched a little. Oradour-Sur-Glane is a village in which on 10th June 1944, 642 innocent French citizens were massacred by the Nazis during German occupation. The men were led into a barn and shot, the women and children burned alive in the church. It is a monstrous thing to read about let alone have lived near to or have lost family and friends in. After the war, the village was kept as a memorial to the dead and designated a martyred village.
I cannot begin to imagine how this kind of news might have affected me had I been a French person living where I do now in the 1940's. I'm sure that I would struggle to ever forget hearing about such a thing, much less get to the point where I decided that the EU, one of the projects after the end of the second world war, which had provided years of peace and prosperity for its member countries, was something that I wanted nothing to do with. So yes, many EU citizens think the UK is mad, and even the US have denounced the whole idea as stupid and damaging to the UK - The New York Times.
Whatever you think of it, remainer or leaver, it's getting difficult now to deny that the British government's handling of the whole thing is deeply unsettling at best, and traumatic at worst. The idea that people could lose the right to be with loved ones, friends, live in their homes, have their qualifications recognised and so lose their jobs, be rejected for jobs on the basis of Brexit uncertainty, have their businesses fail and generally be unable to live without suffering - with all of our usual mental health issues and life-strains - in countries which before had offered us so much freedom and opportunity is unbelievable.
And so I am getting more and more people contacting me asking for Brexit specific support. No, they're not asking me for my political opinion, they're asking for support for the mental health conditions which they might already live with and manage, while Brexit goes on in the background.
If you're affected by these issues or know someone who is, you can find more info at www.harleycounselling.com/services or book in here.
Brexit Anxiety Is A Very Real Issue Right Now: 'It's Causing People To Snap' - Huffington Post
Brexit Anxiety: Don't Worry, You're Not The Only One Who Has It - Refinery29
Brexit anxiety hitting 'fever pitch' for businesses - Evening Standard
How Brexit is fuelling stress and anxiety for vulnerable Brits in Europe - The Local.fr
Six in 10 Britons say Brexit uncertainty bad for mental health - The Guardian
Laura is an online talking therapist and writer specialising in working with millennials and the LGBTQI+ community.