An Aberdeen university’s study to investigate the impact Brexit is having on mental health begins this month.

Robert Gordon University researchers will carry out a study to explore how Brexit is impacting the mental health and wellbeing of EU nationals living in Britain.

Researchers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the School of Applied Social Studies have teamed up to explore how the uncertain and changing political state is shaping the lives of the communities most affected.

It comes after recent figures show the number of EU citizens leaving jobs at public bodies, such as hospital trusts, has increased by an estimated 15% between 2016 and 2017.

Professor Catriona Kennedy, primary investigator on the project, said: “Not only is there great uncertainty about the current political situation, but we know that hate crime spiked in the UK during and after the vote to leave the European Union.

“Our study aims to take this all into account, to provide a narrative describing how Brexit is changing people’s lives, and hopefully to scope what can be done to support the most vulnerable EU citizens.”

The five-month study, funded by the university, will be undertaken in collaboration with Feniks, an Edinburgh-based charity which focuses on improving the wellbeing of the Central Eastern community across the country.

Magda Czarnecka, a project development manager at the charity, said: “The result of the Brexit referendum has brought a high level of uncertainty to the lives of the EU27 nationals in the UK. Since then we have noted an increase in anxiety and depression among our clients. We will ask 30 EU citizens of the UK who lived here prior to the Brexit referendum to take part in one of six focus group interviews. These interviews will take place in Edinburgh and will be supported by professional interpreters allowing participants to express themselves in their mother tongue when required. The project is supported by the charity Feniks which provides culturally sensitive psychological support to Central Eastern European community in Edinburgh. The purpose is to find out about the experiences of EU citizens so we can better support them.”

“I believe this research will give a thorough overview of the impact of Brexit on mental health.

“We hope to use the results to raise awareness on how the public and third sector can improve their services for EU nationals in the coming months and years.”