Disabled woman cries at night because she is so lonely
Gina Patel, 28, from Birmingham, is one of the thousands of disabled people who feel isolated in society, an issue raised by the ABLE2UK Stop The Shadows campaign.
The campaigner now wants to highlight how attitudes and physical barriers are giving the impression to disabled people ‘no one cares’ about them.
She told Birmingham Live: “"No one really calls me or checks how I am.
"I don't really get out much, and if I do, then I need to bring my wheelchair which makes it difficult because you never know whether where you're going is accessible.
"People think that when you're disabled you get hours to go out. I have a personal assistant who helps me for three hours a week, but that's only for my personal care - I don't get any help to go out or to help me make friends."
ABLE2UK’s Stop The Shadows campaign aims to spread awareness of the 61% of disabled people who feel chronically lonely* to support the cause please use #StopTheShadows on social media.
"The social aspect of having a disability is never spoken about," Patel said. "I've accomplished a lot of things as a disability campaigner, but no one really reaches out to me.
"It really frustrates me and makes me feel like I'm not important - I'll often reach out to people to ask to do something but then no one responds. I don't think people realise how hard it is because I don't really talk about it but it's heart-breaking.
"It would mean the world to me to have someone reach out and ask to meet up - it really would. I think people assume that people with disabilities only want to be friends with other disabled people - but that's not the case."
Patel went on to send out a public message asking everyone to involve disabled people as much as possible in pastimes, activities and holidays.
"Put yourself in our shoes,” she urged. "If you're nervous or feel awkward about asking us because of our disability, then just reach out - we're always open to answering questions."
* According to a study by the Sense charity.
[ Around 3 million people in the UK have said they have felt lonely at least once ]