Calls not to politicise mental-health issues fall flat when an era of cuts and uncertainty sees our mental wellbeing plummet

There was something about the events in Westminster this week that made me think of the news that sales of self-help books in Britain are at a record high. As we encounter an ever more stressful and unsteady climate, we are turning to those who offer answers (an issue not least for those who can’t afford the price of a book). Some of this anxiety must come down to more global patterns – climate change, say, or the fragility of democratic norms – but much can come down to the more prosaic matters of life: ability to pay the bills, job prospects, or simply the sense that we have a grasp on the future.

Just look at Brexit. More than four in 10 people say that Brexit has impacted on their mental health in the past two years; hardly surprising considering 44% of respondents to the YouGov survey believed EU withdrawal will worsen their lives. Some EU nationals living in the UK have even reported feeling suicidal as uncertainty about their future steps up.

Related: Mental health patients have been thrown down the Brexit rabbit-hole | Zoe Williams

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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19 April 2019