Stroke help needed

Jessica Connor, Emotional impact of stroke survey.
Jessica Connor, Emotional impact of stroke survey.
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Stroke survivors are not getting the emotional support they need according to findings by the national charity Stroke Association.

The charity’s Feeling Overwhelmed survey of 2,700 people, including 166 from Scotland, found the emotional impact of stroke can be as devastating as the physical effects and was underestimated and sometimes overlooked by health and social care services,

Over half of stroke survivors (65%) felt depressed and two thirds (65%) experienced anxiety as a result of their stroke. They also reported high levels of fear of a recurrent stroke (55%), anger (53%) and lack of confidence (73%)

Over a third of stroke survivors (37%) said they felt abandoned after leaving hospital and nearly half (46%) had received no information or practical advice to help them cope with the emotional impact.

Heiton’s Jessica Connor was just 21 when she had a stroke on a day off from her beauty therapist’s job at Haggerston Castle in Northumberland.

Now a 26-year-old mum, Jessica said: “You think you are invincible at 21. It was a shock. I cried for a couple of days then I was determined to get over it and do what I always did.

“My reaction was disbelief. I don’t really remember the first few days because I think I blocked it out of my mind. I didn’t really know what a stroke meant, I thought ‘oh well, stroke, whatever’.

She was in hospital for three weeks, having occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy. She regained the use of her right leg and arm and learned to talk again.

“I wasn’t very confident anyway as a person and it knocked my confidence. I’m quite a shy person. I didn’t want to speak to anyone or phone anybody.

“I didn’t get depression, but I did get a bit anxious about making phone calls because I couldn’t think of the words I wanted to say. But you have to get on with it.

“I was just determined I was going to get back to being as normal as I could be.”

She and her fiance, technical manager James Cunningham, with whom she has 20-month-old daughter Isabella, get married next month.