In case you’ve been living on the Moon since the Brexit referendum, we’ll sum it up for you: it’s not going well. But now we have tangible proof of the affect Brexit has had on the nation’s wellbeing, and it’s not good news.
By using GP practice prescribing data, a new study by researchers at King’s College London (KCL) has revealed that there was a 13.4 per cent rise in antidepressant prescription in the month following the June 2016 referendum, compared to the previous year.
While the researchers stress that the results should be treated with caution and are open to interpretation, the relative rise may be linked to the increased levels of uncertainly caused by the result in June 2016.
“Most discussion surrounding Brexit focusses on political and economic issues but there has been limited discussion about the impact on individual health and wellbeing,” said Dr Sotiris Vandoros, senior lecturer in health economics at KCL’s Business School.
“Our results contribute to addressing this gap but they don’t capture the effect of the referendum on mental health, mood or happiness of those who were not prescribed antidepressants. More work now needs to be done to study this further and gain a full picture of the effect of the referendum result had on the wider population.”
Previous research has shown that more people become afflicted by mental health issues during economic recessions or times of uncertainty.
This is what the KCL study seems to show, and it is backed up by the fact that while there was a relative increase in antidepressant prescriptions in the month following the EU referendum result, other prescription drugs, such as those for iron deficiency, inflammatory arthritis and drugs unlikely to be associated with uncertainty and depression, remained constant.
Research suggests that antidepressants can be helpful for people with moderate or severe depression, so if Brexit or any other issue is causing you to feel depressed then consult your GP.