Ireland in the Midst of Arthritis Crisis Affecting Three Quarters of a Million

New online video campaign launched to shift stereotypes at the start of National Arthritis Week

Ireland is in the midst of an arthritis crisis with three quarters of a million adults and more than 1,000 children living with it, making it the most common cause of disability nationally. That was the key message highlighted by Arthritis Ireland today to mark the start of National Arthritis Week 2014 as it launched a major new awareness campaign to shift public perceptions about the disease.

This hard-hitting online video, named Arthritis a crisis? has been launched in response to new research which found that many of the old stereotypes about arthritis remain prevalent in the public psyche today.

Watch the video here:

The two and a half minute clip tells the story of five people – children and adults – who are National Arthritis Weekliving with arthritis. It demonstrates in harrowing detail the true impact that the disease has on their daily lives and their struggle to control the condition, both physically and emotionally. With lines such as “I have arthritis. It’s my lifelong partner. I will die before it does”, the video looks to communicate exactly what it feels like to have a lifelong, incurable, chronic disease. All of the people in the video are living with arthritis, including the extras.

Arthritis Ireland CEO, John Church, said: “People with arthritis in Ireland are fed up living with the stereotype that arthritis is just a few aches and pains that just affects older people, when in fact the reality is very different. Ireland is now in the midst of an arthritis crisis. It is the single biggest cause of disability here, affecting three quarters of a million people from newborn babies right through to the elderly. This figure is expected to by 30% to over a million by the year 2030. Funds are urgently needed to address this; to invest in research to find new treatments and a cure, and to provide services to help people control this devastating disease.”

In a survey of 1,000 Irish people by Behaviour & Attitudes, it was found that those who prioritise arthritis as a cause worth supporting are a lot more likely to have direct personal experience of it, pointing to a lack of understanding amongst the general public. The research found that in particular younger adults know very little about arthritis. However, it was found that people would be much more willing to support the cause, knowing that it affects almost one million people, both young and old, and that its impact on a person’s ability to carry out normal, everyday activities causes serious levels of depression and social isolation.

Fiona Poona (44), who is one of the five main cast in the video, said: “Having lived with arthritis for the last 11 years, I know full well what suffering in pain while still looking well is all about. Trying to explain to people what it’s like to have an invisible, chronic condition is extremely difficult and very frustrating. I believe that this video will lead to people having a better understanding of what it’s like to live with arthritis.”

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