Call for better mental health services for stroke survivors

Around 40% of those recovering from a stroke say they experience stress and anxiety.

A Scottish stroke charity is calling for better access to mental health services for stroke survivors. 

The new report from Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland reveals that over 40% of those recovering from a stroke experience stress and anxiety – more than half worry they will have another stroke.  

Over 11,000 Scots a year have a stroke according to the charity’s figures.

Around half of survivors surveyed by the charity also reported having problems with sleep or fatigue and around 56% struggle to keep physically active.

Chief operating officer Allan Cowie said: “I think we need to make that it isn’t a lottery and just by chance.

“When you happen to get access to charities like ourselves, it’s got to be built into the framework of a person’s rehabilitation and recovery journey.”

He added that: “The reality is that the NHS and Scottish Government have to work with the third sector to make sure that’s delivered.”  

David Jones had his life turned upside down when he had two simultaneous strokes when he was 38 years old.

He said: “Overnight I lost potentially my job, my life changed, and I lost my main hobby.”

David plays piano and used to play trumpet before his stroke.  

Initially, he could not speak after his stroke 30 years ago. He has now regained his speech but it has been a long road to recovery.

He said: “My main problem was a huge loss of self-esteem and confidence. Before my stroke, I was very outgoing and confident and after my stroke I was embarrassed.” 

Now, he is part of a stroke support group in Aberdeen – and he hopes other survivors will join to get vital support.

He said: “We read once a month normally in a coffee shop with coffee and biscuits, and we talk to each other.

“Meeting other stroke survivors, he still believes that there is “not enough support for them.” And that it’s “hard to understand the hidden mental and social impact.”

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