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Time for employers to learn more about epilepsy

Our Chief Executive, Lesslie Young reflects on our #ExcelWithEpilepsy campaign and how it is time for employers to learn more about epilepsy.

As we approach the end of National Epilepsy Week, I want to take time to look back at our #ExcelWithEpilepsy campaign and what needs to be done to support people living with epilepsy to succeed.

Our campaign has shown having a neurological condition such as epilepsy does not have to stop you from doing amazing things. Epilepsy does not always have to be a barrier or a limitation.

It has been great to read stories from a variety of people who have epilepsy and who are working in different industries.

Also, it has been wonderful to hear from members of our Youth Group and Wellbeing Group, looking at how they have adapted to living with epilepsy, how they have overcome various challenges and how our services have helped them.

For many people, epilepsy is a life changing condition. We know epilepsy can have a negative impact on people’s mental health, education, and employment opportunities.

We know there is a long way to go until we can get rid of the stigma which is associated with epilepsy and to improve the understanding of the condition amongst businesses, employers and in the workplace.


Employment research

In January 2022, we conducted a survey exploring epilepsy and employment. We received 68 responses, 90% of whom were either currently employed or had recently been in paid employment.

The survey revealed 73% of respondents felt their epilepsy had impacted their career choices.

Moreover, 39% of respondents felt they had experienced discrimination in the workplace because of their epilepsy.

Currently, 81.3% of the non-disabled population in Scotland are in employment. For people with epilepsy this figure is only 36.9%.

Here at Epilepsy Scotland, we are eager to change those statistics.

We are aiming to increase awareness of epilepsy in the workplace and engage employers with information to better support people with epilepsy to find and retain secure employment.

People with epilepsy should not be discriminated against because of their condition.

There are ways for employers to support people who have epilepsy such as introducing reasonable adjustments.

For example, setting a fixed shift pattern for people who find their seizures are triggered by tiredness.

As we have seen throughout National Epilepsy Week, epilepsy does not have to be a barrier or limitation.

People with epilepsy can still excel despite their condition.

We encourage employers to see the benefit people living with epilepsy or any neurological condition can bring to their business and start learning and understanding more about one of the most common neurological conditions in the world.