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Stroke survivors and their families left to deal with the emotional impact alone, says report

Stroke survivors and their families feel abandoned by health and social services after being left to deal with the emotional impact of stroke alone, a report reveals today.

The report, ‘Feeling Overwhelmed’, published by the Stroke Association, marks the beginning of Stroke Month and details the emotional strain of strokes on survivors and families after they have left the hospital.

More than half of survivors experienced depression and two thirds anxiety, in addition to lack of confidence and fear of recurrent stroke, the association says.

A high percentage of stroke carers are also reported to have experienced depression, stress, anxiety and frustration. Relationships are proven to suffer, with almost three in ten couples separating or considering it following stroke.

Of more than 2,700 people surveyed at the end of last year, 79 per cent claimed to have received no information or advice on how to cope with the emotional consequences of strokes.

Claire Whitehouse, 23, from Bournemouth, suffered a stroke when she was 19. Following her release from hospital, Claire suffered from depression and anxiety which also led to anorexia. She said:  “I wish someone, when I was in hospital, gave me a big leaflet with everyone I’d need to contact and said This is what you’re going to experience and this is the group you need to go to’. We need some information to tell us what’s going on.

“I can push myself to become physically able, but emotionally it’s much harder.”

In response to the findings, the Stroke Association is calling for psychological and emotional support to be as integral to recovery as the physical rehabilitation. It wants information and support to be accessible to everyone, survivors and carers, who have been affected by the illness.