Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Higher risks of mental illness for families with disabled children

A new survey covering more than 1,000 families with disabled children has found that nearly of three-quarters suffered from anxiety, depression or have had a breakdown.

These findings from The Contact A Family (CAF) survey suggested that more than half of these problems were the result of a lack of support for parents of disabled children with most saying they felt “alone, isolated and stigmatised”.

CAF chief executive Srabani Sen said: “Isolation is having a devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of some of society’s most vulnerable families. “We are extremely concerned that this is going to get worse in the current economic climate and families are fearful about this situation [too], which will lead to further stress, isolation and poor mental health.” The charity now hopes to use the results of the survey to put pressure on local authorities to provide more early intervention strategies such as key workers, children’s centres and short breaks, all of which have been put at risk by planned welfare reform changes. Their campaign has gained the support of TV star Alesha Dixon, whose brother has cerebral palsy. “I understand how easy it can be for close family members of a disabled child to feel isolated and alone – not because there aren’t enough people around, but because no one you know can relate to your experience,” she said.

Read the full report here.

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