Disbelief and Disregard in health and social care for people with Energy Limiting Conditions (ELC) Part 2


A research project into Energy Limiting Conditions (ELC) wanted to understand the problems people experience getting the support they need from health and social care services.

Part 2 of the research highlights the psychological harms experienced by the participants due to discrimination.

“disbelief made me feel worthless”: the impact of poor healthcare on mental health and wellbeing

Disbelief and Disregard Damages People’s Mental Health

Experiences of “medical gaslighting” left participants feeling traumatised, distressed, and depressed. Participants explained how being disbelieved when they sought medical help made them
question their “value”, core beliefs and self-knowledge.

Disbelief and Avoidance of Medical Care

Being disbelieved erodes the trust that patients have in healthcare professionals. Routine disbelief and disregard become routine experiences, they become reluctant to seek help and they begin to avoid medical encounters as much as possible, leading to worsening health.

Impact of Disbelief on Relationships with Friends and Family

In addition to the breakdown in relationships with healthcare professionals, participants also explained how the disbelief of healthcare professionals, amplified through the media, has a negative impact on relationships with friends and family.

Recommendations – A pathway to Equality:

  • The medical profession must listen and believe
  • Better patient pathways and quality of care are needed for people with ELC.
  • Training of all health, social care, and welfare professionals must include information about energy limiting conditions.
  • Institutional sexism in health, social care and welfare systems must be tackled along with racism, ageism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, fatphobia etc.
  • Simpler ways for people with ELC to access support in welfare, social care, employment and education are needed.
  • People with ELC must be part of conversations about policy and practice that affects them, and equal partners in research on ELC.

Read more about the psychological harms

An introduction to ELCs & the Disbelief and Disregard project

Disbelief and disregard project website

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