Belfast Telegraph

Giving counselling to Brexit losers is cringe-inducing

By Lindy McDowell

Brexit doesn't just mean Brexit. Brexit now also means potential Brex-down, at least if news from a couple of the nation's universities this week is to be believed.

It's reported that academic staff in Nottingham and Leeds are currently being offered counselling to help them deal with Brexit-induced distress.

Nottingham University is said to be holding wellbeing workshops to help those poor souls needing to "enhance skills for resilience" in response to the Brexit result.

At Leeds University the counselling service there has reportedly even produced a guide to help workers deal with "the change and uncertainty" the vote may have triggered.

They make Brexit sound like the menopause.

This guide, apparently, advises that those affected could find themselves dealing with symptoms of grief including shock, anger and denial. And even depression.

Not to mention, presumably, concern about the knock-on effect to Marmite price and Toblerone segment size.

Brex-iety is what they are talking about. The direct opposite of EU-phoria.

Now, I don't doubt that there are some people who took the Brexit result very badly, indeed, on a personal level.

David Cameron, Zac Goldsmith, Eddie Izzard, Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Jade from Little Mix.

And not all the losers were on the Remain side either.

You can see how the likes of Michael Gove might also still be suffering a degree of post-Brexit stress syndrome.

Gove lost his job and emerged from the campaign as the Brutus to Boris.

But you would expect that academics - those charged with sharing knowledge and ideas with their students, with opening their minds to different viewpoints and encouraging them to debate and ponder opposing outlook - might be able to take the result of a democratic vote in their stride.

And not require the sort of counselling offered to hysterical One Directioners when Zayn announced he was quitting.

Where does this end?

Will the counselling services next be offering techniques to help us cope with Trump-xiety?

Although, that said...

Watching footage of President Obama do the countdown, the other evening, for the annual switch-on of Christmas tree lights, it did strike me that, in future, when it comes Mr Trump's turn to do the five, four, three, two, one thing, we'll all juke when he hits the button.

Just in case he's got the wrong one...

But full-scale Brex-iety? Let's be honest. Does that not just come down to being a sore loser?

I say this as a Remainer. But even as a Remainer, I believe that we need to accept democratic decisions (as most people do).

Yes, we might feel we need to work to lessen the impact of outcomes we don't like.

But that doesn't mean having a childish tantrum/meltdown just because things don't go our way.

In terms of counselling, there are people with real psychological problems who genuinely do need help.

But promoting poll disappointment as being on a par with, say, depression and grief belittles real suffering.

Much of the whinging and gurning that followed both the Brexit vote and the Trump result has been utterly cringe-inducing.

All those luvvies who thought that their view was more important than everybody else's, tweeting their distress.

Those starlets waving their hands at red carpet events with Love Trumps Hate sanctimoniously felt-tipped on their palms.

For the record, in the real world, dearie, hate, sadly, all too often Trumps love.

Then again, to be realistic, throwing a bit of a diva strop is not something we would see as new, in terms of the what we expect from Tinseltown.

We rightly expect more robust reasoning however, from, and within, our universities. Not this currently fashionable and pathetic pandering to petulance.

If you want real grief and real shock in the headlines, a couple of words...

Aleppo, Mosul.

Brexit, honestly, just doesn't come close.

One of those Brexit-obsessed, uni-counselling guides advises academics of the dangers of "news addiction."

"If you receive a lot of news shocks," it warns, "your body is likely to experience fear."

Can you imagine what poor Kay Burley has to deal with then?

All this is both laughable and contemptible.

I know so many people who work in academia. And this sort of patronising pap totally demeans them and the brilliant job they do.

But they really do need to speak out, forcefully and loudly, against all this silly cotton-woolling guff.

Brexit may well be the end of Europe.

It is not the end of the world.

Belfast Telegraph


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