Options (c) for resuming care and support needs to happen soon and needs to include support for people with mental health issues

The framework says that consideration is being given to whether and how we can resume NHS and community services, including how 'to mitigate avoidable disproportionate impacts on particular groups'. To do this, the Framework needs to expand on and prioritise steps to replace social care support for those who need it, and to recognise and respond the mental health crisis emerging from the pandemic and the steps being taken to 'suppress' and 'protect'. As ever, the Scottish Government needs to recognise the role of Disabled People's Organisations and the value of disabled people's lived experience, and it's obligations under Article 11 of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, to 'take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.'

Why the contribution is important

The stress and pressure on disabled people, particularly those self-isolating and/or who need and may well have lost all or part of their social care support, is most profound and steps to relieve this should be a clear priority. Part of ensuring that this can be done safely (and this applies to social care support by social services, PAs, family carers or other sources) means having ready and reliable access to PPE and testing to reduce risks to everyone involved. There is no specific mention of mental health and the changes that the Coronavirus brought in affecting provisions in the Adults with Incapacity Act. Disabled people with, and without, pre-existing mental health conditions are finding everyday life under lock-down extremely stressful. They are anxious about their own health, the health of those they care about and many are very fearful for the future. Self-isolation is itself triggering for people with existing mental health problems including anxiety, depression, bipolar, and OCD. This needs to be remedied so that disabled people with pre-existing mental health conditions can obtain the support they need and to prevent the escalation of problems. Inclusion Scotland's Covid-19 Survey (www.inclusionscotland.org) found that disabled people with and without pre-existing mental health conditions are finding everyday life under lock-down extremely stressful. Therefore a need to restore access to mental health clinics and group therapy sessions and access to Child and Adult Mental Health Services and therapeutic services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy hydrotherapy, and therapeutic swimming is needed. Disabled people self-isolating in response to Covid-19 and people with mental health conditions should be supported with access to technology and the internet and through this to online advocacy, support, and engagement. An analysis of over 800 responses to Inclusion Scotland’s Research Survey: Covid-19 – the impact on disabled people (www.incluisonscotland.org) has shown that stress, fear, and anxiety are pervasive for disabled people who are shielding, self-isolating and/or trying to follow social distancing measures due to Covid-19. Some examples of what we have heard from disabled people or their carers about their current mental health are extremely concerning. Significant numbers of disabled people (15) with existing mental health problems have reported to us, via this anonymous survey, that they are feeling suicidal at this time. This is particularly significant for: Disabled people who live alone and who have limited social networks or find digital/remote communication difficult or impossible. Disabled people with lived experience of mental illnesses made worse by social isolation, anxiety about the future and cancellation of medical appointments and therapy. Parents of young or adult children with additional support needs, who report very stressful experiences being in lock-down at home. (See Inclusion Scotland's comment on Additional Support for Learning). Disabled people, including disabled children, who struggle to understand and/or follow social distancing rules.

by InclusionScotland on May 11, 2020 at 06:49PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 5.0
Based on: 2 votes