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The relationship between parental mental health and the special needs system.

November 28, 2019

Last month we celebrated World Mental Health Day. 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.


Parents need answers now.  Parents dont need short term sound bites and failing promises.  They need operational change at a local level.  Extra money will not solve the issue if there is a lack of skills locally to commission the correct service and think long term black instead of short term red.


What do you feel needs to be done?



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