Bobath Scotland working to support wellbeing of people with CP

Bobath Scotland has carried out a major piece of research looking at the state of mental health support for people with cerebral palsy nationally, and how the use of Clinical Psychology could add to existing support services being offered by the charity.


Over the past five months Dr Joy Nisbet, Chartered Clinical Psychologist, has been working with Bobath Scotland to build a picture of what mental health supports are currently in place for people with CP across Scotland, as well as consulting Bobath staff and service users about developing a more “psychologically informed” approach to the charity’s own services.  The research paper was made possible through funding from the Joan Strutt Charitable Trust.

The report concluded that, nationally, there was “a lack of strategic service planning around the lifelong and whole-person impact of CP”.

It was found that across Scotland there is a lack of CP specialised services available, and that supports available have a “predominantly physical focus”. Furthermore, through consultation with national representatives for paediatric, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and older adult Clinical Psychology, it was also established that “there were no clearly defined specialist mental health services for individuals with a diagnosis of CP.”

The report expressed concern about the lack of available mental health support, particularly considering a recent review which found that significant physical and mental health issues were being experienced by people with CP and their families.

Consultation with adults with CP, parents of children with CP and experienced staff also showed that “understanding the psychological impact of living with CP was consistently agreed as a current support gap and priority.”

Looking towards improving Bobath Scotland’s approach to mental health, the report proposes that the International Classification of Functioning, Health and Disability, or ICF Framework, presents a valuable model for service development.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Stephanie Fraser, CEO of Bobath Scotland, said:

“I very much welcome the findings of Dr. Nisbet’s report. It is vital that we develop a more informed understanding of the mental health implications of cerebral palsy.  Bobath Scotland continues to advocate at the national level for the need for more specialist services for the CP community. We know from people and families who use Bobath just how important this is, and that people’s mental health is not being taken care of to the extent that it should be.

“In commissioning this report, we are underlining Bobath Scotland’s recognition of the importance of addressing this issue, and our absolute commitment to providing services that support the whole person, which includes their mental health and wellbeing.

“As an organisation, we look forward to taking forward Dr. Nisbet’s recommendations and developing more psychologically informed approaches in our work.”

The research paper is now available to access on the Bobath Scotland website.