COLUMN: Amid the mental health crisis, help is at hand if the EU referendum outcome is getting you down

The UK voted to leave the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent in Thursday's referendum.

The UK voted to leave the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent in Thursday's referendum.

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Have your say

So, it’s the day after history was made.

How are you feeling?

Sad? Shocked? Worried about what the future holds?

Or happy? Relieved? Optimistic about times ahead?

Everyone will remember where they were when the Brexit vote was announced.

As a church bell tolled outside my house, I woke up, switched on the television and heard David Dimbleby confirm that Britan had voted to leave the EU.

As the day wore on, I grew increasingly concerned that people – both in the leave and remain camps – had voted on the basis of misinformation.

I heard one individual say: “I voted leave. I’m fed up of all the billions of pounds we send to Brussels week in, week out.”

And then it emerged ‘what is the EU?’ became a top Google trend, suggesting not everyone was as clued up on Thursday’s vote as perhaps they should have been.

As our sister title the i reports, some Brexit voters now regret their decision.

Meanwhile, a lot of young people feel they will be the losers as a result of the historic referendum.

According to a YouGov poll, 75 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds claimed they voted to remain in the EU, while just 39 per cent of those aged 65 and over backed a vote to stay.

Now, many people are asking ‘what next?’ – but nobody knows the answer.

Only time, a lot of time, will tell.

As outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron comes under pressure to speed up ‘divorce’ talks with the EU, it’s important to accept the fact that a democratic process has taken place and more people voted to leave the bloc than remain in it.

Families, friends, communities and colleagues are bound to feel divided after what’s happened – but I’m sure we can all agree that we don’t want to add to the hatred in this world.

Many people will have a whole host of concerns, whether it’s about their job, rising prices, their future in general.

Recently, I’ve written a number stories about the devastating consequences of mental health problems, one of society’s greatest demons.

Psychiatrist Dr Rais Ahmed told me there are many reasons why people can be affected by mental illness – and he urged people to talk about what’s troubling them.

On the back of the EU referendum and amid the current uncertainty, I think it’s important to publicise that if you feel the need to speak to someone in confidence, the Samaritans are there.

You can get in touch with them about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how large or small the issue, by calling free at any time on 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org

In the meantime, you know what to do – keep calm and carry on.