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  • Writer's pictureSEN World | the special needs experts

The Special Needs System & Mental Health of parents.

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

Last month we celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week y. Well at least we did all over social media. The reality is for many they struggle with their mental health more than every before. With increasing numbers of children with special needs and disability out of school due to local authority failures, parents are left to pick up the pieces.

Parents who decide to remonstrate with the system and go after their school of choice that they believe is most appropriate to their child's need, are forced through a judicial assault course. The reason we use the term assault course because we believe the unfairness and unequal weighting of the route parents have to go through causes emotional and mental trauma. With rising numbers of tribunals in the UK and increasing numbers of children out of school in USA due to professional malpractice. We decided to ask the parents the impact it was having on their mental health. The very individuals who are having to battle a system whilst in a full time care capacity. Many parents we know have to give up full time employment when schools and service fail to deliver what they promise. With over 2000 children out of school in UK awaiting placements the costs to families are huge.

We are not just talking about the loss of income, but the impact on relationships, and on parental mental well being. The results of our survey was astounding. Our question: Parents we want to know if your mental health has been affected by the SEND system. The responses from our twitter community No 11% Yes but I can manage it 64% Yes I am on medication 18% On meds & no longer work 7% An astounding 89% overall stated that they were too afraid to seek medical help in case it was used against them by the authorities. To think there are so many parents suffering and not feeling they are in a position to seek help because of the system is appalling. The 89% prompted us to consider the PTSD dynamic being created by a failing system - see our article on PTSD. It is time for whole sale change. The government enquiries into the SEND system in the UK are not eliciting any immediate effective change.

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