The local NHS in Bedworth, Nuneaton and north Warwickshire is supporting Learning Disabilities Week, which takes place between 15 to 21 June, with a focus on the importance of friendships during lockdown.
People with a learning disability are more likely to experience loneliness and social isolation, according to charity organization Mencap, and this would have been made worse by the Mencap want to raise awareness of the importance of friendships to help tackle social isolation, as well as exploring the different ways of maintaining those friendships during this unusual time.
Having friends helps people feel happier, included and valued, and enhances wellbeing. But, for people with a learning disability, opportunities to participate in their community, meeting people and develop friendships can be more difficult.
Dr Imogen Staveley, Deputy Chair at NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Never have friendships been so important than during the last few months, during the coronavirus pandemic. For people with a learning difficulty who can already experience high levels of loneliness and social isolation, it will have been particularly difficult.
“During this Learning Disability Week, I want people to think about extending their hand of friendship to someone they may know who has a learning disability. Whether that be through a phone call or a socially distanced chat, never has there been a better time to be reminded of the importance of friendships and the impact a friendly chat can have one someone’s mental wellbeing.”
You can find information about local organisations, groups and agencies that provide activities, advice, services and can offer support. Visit Warwickshire County Council Directory for further information.
If you feel you need help and support for you or a family member who has or you believe has learning disabilities, NHS services are still operating during coronavirus and are here to help you and your family.
Contact your GP or you can make a self-referral to NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust for Learning Disability Team (Adults) by contacting 0300 200 0011 or visit the website. More information about the services and support available for the Learning Disability Team (Adults) is available here: https://www.covwarkpt.nhs.uk/service-detail/health-service/learning-disability-team-adult-41/.
For the Learning Disability Team (Children’s) a professional referral needs to be completed. Contact your GP or Health Visitor initially for any concerns you have. For more information visit https://www.covwarkpt.nhs.uk/service-detail/health-service/learning-disability-team-childrens--16/
Mencap are asking people to celebrate the friendships and connections people have made to show how important they have been during lockdown using the #Mencapfamily on social media. For more information click here