Families of disabled children face isolation

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Many parents of children with disabilities feel so isolated that they experience depression or even breakdown, says new research by Contact a Family.

The charity’s report, Forgotten Families – The impact of isolation on families with disabled children across the UK, shows that social, emotional and financial isolation is resulting in mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression or breakdown, for nearly three quarters of families with disabled children. Roughly half of those surveyed also said they had sought help from a GP or counsellor because they were feeling so unwell.

More than 1,100 families with disabled children completed the online survey, with 65 per cent saying they feel isolated “frequently” or “all of the time”, and 21 per cent blaming isolation for the break-up of their marriage or family. A lack of support from statutory services, such as social services and the education system, was seen as the cause of their isolation by 56 per cent of respondents. More than half said they could not do things other families could due to lack of money, and they could not work as much as they would like.

The charity has called upon local authorities to provide effective early intervention services, such as key workers, support groups and children’s centres, and to ensure that families receive the short breaks they need to cope. It has also urged the Government to fulfil its promise to protect vulnerable families and ensure that welfare reforms do not increase their isolation.

To download a copy of the Forgotten Families reporth, visit: http://www.cafamily.org.uk/pdfs/isolationreport.pdf

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