On Monday 29 March, we published the results of the second survey of our Parent Panel.
Awfully, the survey reveals that disabled children and their families are at risk of developing serious mental health issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The levels of anxiety, isolation and poor mental wellbeing reported are higher compared to the rest of the population.
- Over 90% of disabled children are socially isolated, with 49% of disabled children not seeing a friend in the last month either online or in person. This sadly isn’t limited to children, with three in five parents also socially isolated.
- This isolation has had a painful impact on the development of life skills in disabled children. Around half of parents highlighted a negative impact on skills, such as being out and about, communicating with others and interacting with strangers.
- As a result, both parents and children are continuing to experience poor emotional wellbeing. On average six out of ten parents are observing symptoms associated with anxiety. 72% of parents report that their child is often unhappy, downhearted or tearful. Their siblings are also affected with a high proportion of parents reporting that their other children are having negative issues regarding sleep and anxiety.
This research serves as a stark reminder of why the Government desperately needs to implement a COVID-19 recovery plan for disabled children, young people and their families.