As part of the #AskHowIFeel psoriasis awareness campaign Novartis and the Irish Skin Foundation (ISF) has today launched a dedicated resource, AskHowIFeel.ie, housing new support and advice videos for people living with the skin condition.
The campaign is designed to encourage those living with psoriasis to seek support from others and to have more open conversations about how the condition impacts their lives not just physically, but emotionally.
The resources include videos that feature patient advocate Caroline Irwin in conversation with Dr Eddie Murphy, Clinical Psychologist, Adjunct Associate Professor, UCD School of Psychology and #AskHowIFeel campaign ambassador, looking at psoriasis from the inside out.
The candid videos focus on several topics including; discussing the common challenges people living with psoriasis face, pathways to support, and working with your healthcare professional, particularly your GP.
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According to new data released by the Global Psoriasis Atlas, an estimated 82,900 people in Ireland live with psoriasis. As well as the physical symptoms, psoriasis can affect people emotionally; many people with the condition can struggle with anxiety and depression, impacting both self-esteem and confidence. The campaign’s aim is to empower people not to suffer in silence, but to encourage those around them – friends, family and healthcare professionals- to #AskHowIFeel.
Common Challenges Faced by People with Psoriasis
Dr Eddie Murphy, #AskHowIFeel campaign ambassador, said;
“Psoriasis is a very visible condition, with a lot of invisible pain. #AskHowIFeel hopes to shine a light on the emotional impact psoriasis can have on those living with the condition by encouraging people to have honest conversations with their loved ones and healthcare professionals. I hope that these videos help to provide some practical guidance and support to those who might feel overwhelmed by their psoriasis.”
Caroline Irwin also details to Dr Murphy her own experience of living with psoriasis in the videos, from her diagnosis at age nine to her advocacy work with the ISF to support others who are struggling with the burden of psoriasis.
Caroline Irwin, Patient Advocate and board member of the ISF, said;
“I know first-hand the struggle that people can go through having lived with psoriasis for more than 50 years. I have experienced many ups and downs as a result of my psoriasis, and I can honestly say that a turning point for me came at a time when I felt that no more could be done for my psoriasis, and my Dermatologist said to me ‘If this doesn’t work, we will try something else and we’ll keep going together’.
That was a real lifeline for me. I felt so supported and that my dermatologist really understood the hopelessness I was feeling in that moment. Thankfully my psoriasis is under control now and I want people to understand that there is hope for people to get the physical side under control, so that they can then focus on the emotional impacts.”
Other videos launched today as part of the campaign feature advice from leading healthcare professionals in the field of psoriasis, Dr Marina O’Kane, Consultant Dermatologist and Chairperson of the ISF, and Dr Catherine Wilkinson, GP, sharing their advice for patients who wish to discuss the emotional impact of their condition with healthcare providers and getting the most out of dermatologist and GP appointments respectively. Also available on the AskHowIFeel.ie resource is the ISF Psoriasis booklet, and the Novartis SymTrac app.
Loretto Callaghan, Managing Director, Novartis Ireland, said;
“We know from the Burden of Psoriasis Report, carried out by Novartis with the support of the ISF, that 77% of people living with the condition admitted that at times their skin has made them want to hide away.
This campaign encourages those with psoriasis to engage in an open dialogue with those around them to ensure better outcomes both physically as well as emotionally.”
Caroline Irwin and Dr Eddie Murphy will continue their conversation at the Irish Skin Foundation’s upcoming information event SkinSideOut, a first-of-its-kind skin health event open to all those struggling to manage the challenges of living with skin conditions. taking place at Science Gallery on November 16th. For more information and to register for the event register here.