A Northampton-based charity has revealed the true impact of a common skin condition on the quality of life and mental health of young people in the UK.
The results of a survey released by the Psoriasis Association has revealed that nine-out-of-10 young people affected by the condition say they suffer from anxiety and depression.
In addition, three-quarters of the 250 people surveyed by the charity said the condition had a negative effect on their social life, and two-thirds claimed it left them feeling isolated.
It comes as the UK Psoriasis Awareness Week begins this Monday (October 29).
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Psoriasis Association, which was founded and based in Northampton.
The charity say they are focusing on addressing the results of its survey with the launch of its new WhatsApp helpline service.
Young people are now able to chat anonymously with experienced Psoriasis Association staff via the free messaging service WhatsApp about how the condition makes them feel and to discuss any concerns they have.
Chief executive Helen McAteer said: "More than a billion people now use WhatsApp every day, and we hope that by utilising this platform to offer a confidential place to seek information and support, we can alleviate some of the isolation that young people with psoriasis all to often feel.
"This is in addition to the age-specific information and peer-to-peer forums that are hosted on our dedicated website."
A number of celebrities have recently opened up about their psoriasis with Love Island’s Georgia Harrison hitting out at malicious trolls earlier this year after posting pictures on Instagram which revealed signs of psoriasis on her thighs. Georgia urged those with psoriasis to support each other on social media and highlighted that it’s OK not to look perfect.
Linked to this, 70 per cent of the survey respondents feel that their healthcare professionals don’t understand what it’s like to live with psoriasis, and 60 per cent feel that family and friends don’t understand how their psoriasis makes them feel. Additionally, 47 per cent are worried for their future, believing that psoriasis has or will have a negative effect on their studies or career
Anyone requiring information, advice or support can contact the Psoriasis Association’s WhatsApp helpline on 07387 716 439.