Brexit – How Is It Affecting Young People?

Brexit uncertainty is raising stress levels in all of us

Brexit – will it / won’t it / when / what / how . .??

The uncertainty has had major effects on business, currency markets and politics to name but a few.

What has changed in our lives – and especially the lives of young people?

Has it raised anxiety levels significantly? Or have the ceaseless to-ings and fro-ings and 24/7 coverage simply deadened many of us to any new effects? Have we just switched off from it all?

We look at impact today, not at the rights or wrongs of Brexit nor how things may unfold.

A quick recap with focus on the younger generation

Nearly three quarters (73%) of 18 to 24 year-olds who voted, voted Remain although only about half of that age group voted.

Older people favoured Leave. Analysis showed that this preference increased steadily with the age of the voter.

Brexit uncertainty makes people feel powerless, anxious and worried

The Mental Health Foundation polled UK adults aged 18 and over. The results showed that “in the last year, Brexit had made them feel powerless (43 per cent), angry (39 per cent) or worried (38 per cent).”

That’s all adults, not just younger people, but the picture is fairly clear. Political uncertainty is a worry for a lot of individuals. Some are naturally more prone to worry than others, as with every aspect of life. Brexit is just another weight, albeit a big one.

Middle aged white men taking decisions that the young disagree with

Young people feel left out.  Nobody is really listening to them.

There is a very obvious generation divide. Older people have different attitudes and have absorbed more experiences from pre-Brexit days but also absorbed current affairs more deeply that any 16 year old could possibly have.

Young citizens org is a charity set up in the late 1960s to both educate young people about The Law and to get them usefully engaged in current affairs and society in general. Ignorance and apathy lead to missed opportunities at best.

Brexit and Young People sets out what requirements need to be included around any Brexit event – whether with or without a deal to safeguard the best interests of this generation.

The recommendations include

  • Actively include young people in discussions about Brexit and listen to their views
  • Ensure cross-cultural ties are retained and strengthened especially at student level (e.g. Erasmus student exchange)
  • Encourage democratic reform to better engage young people as young as 16

Things you can do to ease the stress

The Mental Health Foundation has a very useful tips list of simple and practical actions you can take. That helps to minimise the negative impact that events can have on us and our families.

If you can’t change the causes, you can at least filter them.

 

References

Kousoulis, Dr A. (Aug 2019). The Impact Of Brexit Anxiety: “I Feel Frightened Of The Angry World Outside My Door”. Happiful. Retrieved from https://happiful.com/the-impact-of-brexit-anxiety/

Gil, N. (Mar 2019). Brexit Anxiety: Don’t Worry, You’re Not The Only One Who Has It. Refinery29. Retrieved from https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2019/03/227716/brexit-mental-health-anxiety

Mental Health Foundation. (Mar 2019). Millions have felt ‘powerless’, ’angry’ or ’worried’ because of Brexit – results of our new poll. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/news/millions-have-felt-powerless-angry-or-worried-because-brexit-results-our-new-poll

Mental Health Foundation. (2019). Top tips to look after your mental health at times of political uncertainty and change. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/tips-mental-health-political-uncertainty

Mortimer, J. (Mar 2016). Women and the young are being left in the dark by the Brexit debate. Open Democracy. Retrieved from https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ourbeeb/women-and-young-are-left-in-dark-by-eu-referendum-debate/

Young Citizens (Jan 2018). Brexit and young people. Retrieved from https://www.youngcitizens.org/News/brexit-and-young-people

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