Almost two thirds of disabled people are now chronically lonely, rising to 7 in 10  of young disabled people, according to new research conducted by the national disability charity, Sense.

Their report out this morning estimates that over two thirds of disabled people say their mental health is affected by social isolation, raising concerns of a significant increase in mental health conditions.

Meanwhile they say,tackling mental health issues and addressing chronic loneliness caused by the pandemic is what the majority of disabled people believe the government should prioritise once the vaccination rollout is complete, topping the NHS , economy , and education .

Figures show that even before the pandemic disabled people were disproportionately affected by social isolation and loneliness, but the dramatic increase has led Sense to call for urgent action from the government.

There are 14.1 million disabled people living in the UK, and while loneliness has risen across the whole population in the last year, today’s announcement reveals that it has jumped by a quarter for those with a disability, who prior to the outbreak, were already disproportionately affected by the issue.

In the North West, six out of ten chronically lonely (feeling lonely always or often) and seven out of ten say isolation is affecting their mental health

The research is further evidence of the disproportionate impact the virus has had on the lives of disabled people. According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) disabled people account for almost six in 10 of all deaths involving coronavirus, while making up 22 per cent of the population.

Many disabled people have said that they have felt forgotten during the pandemic, with social care support reduced, which has meant they have been unable to do basic chores such as leave the house, eat, wash themselves, socialise or attend essential medical appointments.  

Richard Kramer, Sense Chief Executive, says:

“Many disabled people were already experiencing high levels of social isolation and loneliness before the pandemic, and the last year has made the situation much worse, raising fears of a mental health crisis.”

“Throughout the pandemic the needs of disabled people have been overlooked, and they have often felt forgotten.”

“The government must recognise the severe impact the pandemic is having on disabled people and improve the support available, so they are not left isolated and cut off from society.”

Sense is also aiming to raise disability awareness and understanding amongst the general public. 2 in 5 disabled people said it would be the most helpful measure in tackling social isolation, second only to introducing more community activities where people can meet .

Sense is calling on the public to sign its pledge, committing to help create a more accessible society.  Upon signing the pledge, supporters will receive a free guide on how to make life more inclusive for everyone. 

For more information, visit:



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here