The UK government is made up of several political structures, including the Prime Minister, government departments, the civil service, local governments, and parliament (1). Political climate refers to the population’s interpretations and judgements of political events and processes (2). Political climate can be shaped by rhetoric, which is the use of language to persuade, invoke emotions and find consensus (3).
Transitions in political structures can lead to a time of limited economic growth (4). This is a risk factor for mental health as this can affect funding for health care and individuals’ financial security.
Political climate can also be a risk factor for mental health difficulties. For example, Brexit left some people feeling uncertain. This uncertainty has been associated with increased antidepressant prescription, especially for people who voted to leave the EU (5). When political rhetoric is used to polarise and stigmatise certain groups, it can be divisive. Divisive rhetoric has been linked to chronic stress, discrimination, and stigma in ethnic minority populations; which are risk factors for mental health difficulties (3).
1. How government works [Internet]. Gov.uk. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/how-government-works
2. Drory A. Perceived Political Climate and Job Attitudes. Organ Stud [Internet]. 1993 Jan 1 [cited 2021 Jan 18];14(1):59–71. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/017084069301400105
3. Cogdell Grainger K. Political Rhetoric and Minority Health: Introducing the Rhetoric Policy-Health Paradigm . Saint Louis Univ J Heal Law Policy [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2021 Mar 23];12(1):144. Available from: https://scholarship.law.slu.edu/jhlp/vol12/iss1/7
4. Lombardo C. Political change and mental health [Internet]. Mental Health Foundation. 2019 [cited 2021 Feb 16]. Available from: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/political-change-brexit-research
5. Liew T, Goodwin R, Walasek L. Voting patterns, revoking article 50 and antidepressant trends in England following the Brexit referendum. Soc Sci Med. 2020 Jun 1;255:113025.