Our study shows that the Brexit campaign, referendum, and subsequent political discourse have damaged EU citizens’ wellbeing primarily through undermining their integration into
Scottish society. They have been left feeling unwanted, unwelcome, marked out as different and treated as inferior. They are concerned with the uncertainty around Brexit, reducing their ability to visualise their future in Scotland. Most saw Scotland and the UK as open, welcoming countries before the 2016 referendum, increasing their sense of shock and loss. Thus, we argue that the mental health of the EU citizens is important not only in its own right, but also as a barometer of integration and cohesion in Scotland. To heal EU citizens is to go some way in healing Scotland as a whole. Scotland has a critical advantage over the rest of the UK given its ‘Remain’ majority, but still faces challenges, which need to be tackled on national
and local levels.
* EU citizens’ mental health and wellbeing is being impacted by Brexit
* Their mental health and wellbeing provides a window into the health of our nation in relation to integration and cohesion
* Scotland holds a critical advantage over the rest of UK in this regard but still faces challenges