More than two thirds of family carers say their mental health has got worse during the pandemic

  • Research from the disability charity, Sense, reveals the impact of the pandemic on families caring for disabled loved one.
  • Nearly two thirds (62%) of carers have had to take on additional caring responsibilities because of support cuts during the pandemic, and three quarters (75%) believe the Government have not prioritised the needs of disabled people and their families.
  • New petition, calling on the Government to ensure next year’s Covid Inquiry investigates the impact on disabled people and families, has already received over 25,000 signatures.
Saeed Ahmed hugs his son Azhar.

London, UK, 12 November 2021Three quarters (75 per cent) of family carers believe the Government have not prioritised the needs of disabled people and their families during the pandemic, according to research by the national disability charity, Sense.

Essential support has been cut during the pandemic, often with little or no notice, and as a result, nearly two thirds (62%) of carers have had to take on additional caring responsibilities.

The Sense survey of 1,002 parents and family members caring for a disabled person, reveals the impact it has taken on them and their families, with more than two thirds (67%) experiencing a deterioration in their mental health, and nearly half (45%) a worsening of their personal finances.  Four in ten (41%) say there has been a deterioration in their physical health, and more than third (38%) have seen a negative impact on their personal relationships.

The most common challenge carers have experienced during the pandemic has been accessing health support during the pandemic (46%). This is followed by Increased loneliness and social isolation (45 per cent), Reduced services and support (41%), Increased financial pressure (41%) and issues accessing groceries and medical essentials (32%).

More than three quarters (79%) of carers say that next year’s Covid Inquiry can help the Government and society learn from and address the inequalities that disabled people and carers face.

A petition, launched last month, by the charity calling on disabled people and their families to be put at the heart of next year’s inquiry into the UK’s handling of Covid-19, has already passed 25 thousand signatures.

Sense wants to see:

  1. A key section of the inquiry investigating the impact of Covid-19 on disabled people and their families, with them being invited to contribute evidence.
  2. A panel leading the inquiry that is representative of disabled people
  3. The inquiry to be run in an accessible way so that disabled people can participate and engage with it.

Richard Kramer, Sense Chief Executive, said:

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on disabled people and their families and it’s clear that any inquiry into its handling, must have them at its heart.

“This is an opportunity for Government and society to learn from and address the inequalities that disabled people and carers face. We must seize it and ensure they’re not again overlooked.”

Saeed Ahmed (45), from Birmingham cares for his 22-year-old son Azhar who is disabled and needs 24/7 support. Azhar has complex disabilities, which includes autism, severe learning disabilities and epilepsy. When the pandemic hit Azhar’s care was dropped overnight and has still not been fully reinstated.  

Saeed Ahmed said:  

“It’s been an extremely hard 18 months. Like many disabled people and their families, we’ve felt unsupported and have had to just muddle through.  

“It’s so important that disabled people and their families have their experiences heard and are called to give evidence as part of the public inquiry on Covid-19. Without this, there’s a real risk that the challenges many people have faced will be overlooked. We must learn from this time if we want things to change.  

“I’m joining Sense and signing their petition calling for disabled people and their families to be at the heart of the public inquiry into Covid-19.”

Read more about our Covid-19 Inquiry campaign.

Contact Sense’s media team

Email: [email protected]
Phone number: 020 7014 9384