A CHARITY has today launched Scotland’s first-ever national survey seeking to understand the effect epilepsy can have on the mental health of someone who has the neurological condition.

People living with epilepsy, particularly those with uncontrolled and frequent seizures, are more likely to experience mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, as well as to become socially isolated.

Through the survey, entitled It’s Time to Talk about Epilepsy, Epilepsy Scotland wants to hear from as many people as possible who are living with epilepsy, including those whose seizures are controlled through medication.

The survey was launched by SNP MSP Alasdair Allan and mental health campaigner and former Labour MP Danielle Rowley. They are two of the estimated 58,000 people living with epilepsy in Scotland.

Allan said: “While public understanding of epilepsy is much greater than it used to be, it is important to continue to raise awareness and to highlight that the condition is more than seizures.

“For example, there are a range of challenges in the lives of many people with epilepsy which makes it more common to experience issues related to mental health. This national survey from Epilepsy Scotland is an important tool in aiding our understanding of the effect epilepsy can have on mental health and what specific support is required.

“Talking about mental health is rarely easy but I would encourage as many people as possible to take part.”

Rowley said: “As someone living with epilepsy, I am delighted to support the launch of an important national survey.

“There are estimated to be around 5600 people here in Edinburgh and 58,000 across Scotland living with epilepsy, including many with uncontrolled seizures which can have a significant impact on their day-to-day life and their mental wellbeing.”

Mental health conditions including anxiety and depression are common for people living with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Scotland policy and communications manager Ross Cunningham said: “Epilepsy can also have a very significant impact on someone’s relationships and family life, education and employment opportunities, the ability to drive and on mental health and wellbeing.

“We want to hear about the experiences of people living with epilepsy in every corner of Scotland to better inform ourselves and policy makers about the extent to which epilepsy can affect someone’s mental health so we can highlight the specific support that is required.”

The survey will run until Monday, March 13.

Source: thenational.scot, Jane Cassidy