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Disability History Month in the UK Long Covid: A New Disability

From November 16th to December 16th, the UK celebrates Disability History Month (UKDHM), providing a platform to explore the historical, current, and future experiences of disability throughout the country. Grounded in a Social Model/Human Rights approach, the UKDHM aims to combat social

exclusion linked to stigma, stereotypes, negative attitudes, bias, and artificial barriers for all disabled people, both visible and invisible.

In 2020, Long Covid emerged as a new hidden disability. As Disability History Month prompts reflection on the challenges faced by people with various disabilities, Long Covid remains a relatively unexplored landscape. In this blog, we delve into the significance of highlighting Long Covid during this dedicated month, shedding light on the experiences of those navigating the prolonged aftermath of a COVID-19 infection.

Developing awareness of Long Covid during UKDHM 2023 creates an opportunity for communities, organisations, educational and health services, and the Government to assess their approaches to disabled people. Media, publishing, and image creators are urged to collaborate with disabled people, reassess portrayals of disability, and enhance inclusivity while avoiding stereotypes.

Reflecting on the history of disability reveals neglect, punishment, segregation, bullying, and ignorance. These biases and discriminations still exist today, embedded in our daily thinking and actions. People with Long Covid add a contemporary layer to the historical narrative of disability, emphasising the ongoing evolution of our understanding of health challenges and the imperative for inclusivity in all aspects of society.

The root of positive change lies with each of us. We must reevaluate our perspectives on disability in families, communities, healthcare, education, the workplace, places of worship, and societal attitudes to strive for a more inclusive future where no one is excluded from opportunities because they are disabled.

What You Can Do:

Be an Ally and Advocate:

Heightened awareness can fuel advocacy efforts for better policies and support systems. Act, listen, learn, include, involve others, engage in discussions, and educate yourself and others. Support, speak up, speak out, and share your privilege and knowledge.

Give People with Long Covid Recognition:

For those with Long Covid, recognition is crucial. As an invisible disability, it is challenging for others to comprehend the daily struggles faced by those affected. By bringing the invisible challenge of Long Covid into focus, we dismiss misconceptions and encourage kindness and empathy, acknowledging its profound impact on individuals' lives.

Support Long Covid Charities:

Charities run by people with Long Covid create awareness, campaigns, and events, providing spaces for shared experiences, support, and advocacy. They stand up for the human rights of those left disabled and behind by the government.

Educate and Share:

Spotlight Long Covid symptoms, experiences, knowledge, research, recognition, and rehabilitation during Disability History Month. Sharing your knowledge and experience helps build empathy, dispel myths, and foster a more understanding, compassionate, and kind society.

In the spirit of Disability History Month, we must not overlook the contemporary disability landscape. Long Covid, with its invisible yet impactful nature, must have our attention and understanding. By raising the profile of Long Covid during Disability History Month, we take a step towards a more inclusive society—one that recognises, supports, and learns from the diverse experiences of millions of people with Long Covid in the UK.



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