The European Federaton of Neurological Associations have published the findings from their recent international survey on stigma experienced by those living with a neurological condition across Europe.
We recently shared the survey across our social media channels and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to take part.
The survey included people living with a range of neurological conditions, including those with epilepsy. It found that 92% of respondents felt that they have been affected by stigma associated with their condition. The full survey results and report can be found here.
The survey also provides detailed insights into each individual neurological condition. Of the 126 respondents who indicated that they were living with epilepsy, 74 of those were from Ireland so the survey provides a weighted insight into the experiences of many people living with epilepsy in Ireland.
This epilepsy-specific data in full can be found here.
While stigma is still perceived by many people living with epilepsy in all aspects of life including education, employment and relationships, it is encouraging that the survey indicates that epilepsy is less stigmatised than other neurological conditions. Similar surveys by Epilepsy Ireland over the years have also found a general trend that stigma appears to be reducing over time. For example, see this article from 2017.
Historically, epilepsy has been a very stigmatised and misunderstood condition, but thankfully, this may be changing in Ireland and across Europe. A large factor in this, we believe, is that more and more people are stepping forward to speak out about living with epilepsy and addressing the misconceptions and misunderstandings that have caused epilepsy to be stigmatised for centuries. We hope that public campaigns like International Epilepsy Day aimed at tackling epilepsy myths are also having an impact.
There is a lot more work to do of course, but together with our members, supporters and volunteers we at Epilepsy Ireland will continue to work to achieve a society where no person's life is limited by epilepsy. If you would like to help us with this ongoing work, why not consider joining our media volunteer list by getting in touch with our Communications Officer, Paddy McGeoghegan on email@example.com. You can read more about this here.