#iseebeyond increases awareness of hidden disability within four months of campaign launch

Neurological charities Headway, Brain Injury Services & Support and Epilepsy Ireland have welcomed consumer research findings that show their joint hidden disability campaign has helped raise awareness since it was launched last February. #iseebeyond comprised of six short videos depicting real life scenarios to promote positive attitudes towards people living with a hidden disability.

Amárach Research conducted surveys before (December 2015) and after the campaign (June 2016) which clearly show its impact. Some of the key findings are:

  • 41% of respondents are aware of the concept of hidden disability compared 32% in the previous survey
  • Over one third (37%) said they would feel comfortable informing their employer that they had a hidden disability – a 7% increase
  • 20% feel their workplace/place of education shows awareness for people with hidden disabilities – that figure is up by 5%
  • Nearly half of respondents (49%) are aware of the daily challenges faced by someone with epilepsy – a rise of 4%
  • 39% said they were aware of the challenges faced by a person living with acquired brain injury (ABI), up from 33%.
  •  15% of respondents have seen or heard some form of social media or news story about hidden disabilities within recent months

Speaking about the findings Epilepsy Ireland CEO Peter Murphy said: "These results are very encouraging and clearly show the positive impact of #iseebeyond in such a short space of time. The stories that were told clearly touched the public consciousness and helped bring a more compassionate response. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country are affected by hidden disabilities and the campaign aimed towards a more inclusive society where no one should feel burdened. However, there is still much work to be done and both Epilepsy Ireland and Headway plan to continue the great work of #iseebeyond into the future."

CEO of Headway, Kieran Loughran was also keen to praise the campaign: "These results show what two charities can achieve when they work together and are committed to a common goal. For Headway #iseebeyond was about reminding people that the person standing in front of them may have a hidden illness they are unaware of. Most people in Ireland don't realise the challenges facing someone with a brain injury but within just a few months knowledge is beginning to spread. Our ultimate goal is to reverse the lack of awareness for all hidden disabilities."

#iseebeyond reached out to companies, universities, community services and individuals through a series of 6 short videos to promote positive attitudes towards people living with a hidden disability. Companies already supporting #iseebeyond include Munster Rugby, Energia, Flogas, IRUPA, HAVAS, BDO and Marketing Network, amongst others.

For the next phase of the campaign, #iseebeyond hopes to specifically target the issue of hidden disability in the workplace, providing resources to inform and support employers in recruiting, supporting and retaining employees with hidden disabilities.

For more information visit iseebeyond.ie

 *Surveys were conducted by Amárach Research from 7-11 December 2015 and June 13 – 17 across a total of 2,000 participants in Ireland. It included quotas set on gender, age, social class and region to achieve a sample aligned with national population.