People with a learning disability and their families are facing a mental health crisis.
Mencap spoke to the families of people with a learning disability as part of a recent survey on mental health, loneliness, and the impact of the pandemic on the lives of people with a learning disability.
Over 80% of those we surveyed said they felt lonely due to the continuing impact of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, a report funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has also been published by Mencap. In it, many people with a learning disability describe how life in lockdown felt like a ‘prison.’ The report gives examples of how people with a learning disability continue to feel isolated – not only because of continued concerns over COVID, but also because many of the day services and activities they relied on to socialise have not restarted or been replaced with the easing of COVID restrictions. Those who participated in the report say that these day services were a lifeline to them before COVID, and without these vital opportunities to socialise, they struggle to get out in the community and meet with others.
The government knows this, too. They have mentioned day services as playing a key role in recovery as part of their March 2021 COVID-19 Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Action Plan.
But these services are not being reinstated quickly enough, with others being forced to close due to a lack of funding. We need change, and we need your help to make it happen.
Whilst we are working with local authorities to support these much needed services, we need you to write to your MP and ask them to raise this issue with Sajid Javid MP, Secretary for State for Health and Social Care.
We need him to make good on the commitments set out in the COVID-19 Recovery Plan and ensure that local authorities get the resources they need to support better mental health for everyone, including people with a learning disability. We need the leadership that is required to ensure that day services are available to those who need support most.