Wearing a mask has now become compulsory in all indoor settings in England. There was some resistance to this at first, but research has shown that wearing a mask can minimise the risk to others of you spreading COVID-19. 

As this has become the normal for the majority, for many wearing a mask is a daunting prospect bringing on psychological trauma, and for others it is just not possible due to underlying health conditions. 

Many of our Court of Protection clients are considered "walking wounded", they are vulnerable individuals bravely carving their independence after injury. I am often shocked by how many have experienced verbal abuse for parking in a disabled bay despite not needing to use a wheelchair, or have been treated poorly for struggling to engage with others in shops as a result of their cognitive difficulties. 

This is an increasing issue with the new requirement to wear face coverings, with many brain injured clients being exempt from the requirement as to wear one may cause physical distress. We are seeing increased reports of people with these invisible disabilities suffering abuse for not wearing face coverings, as a result of the public's lack of awareness.

Not all disabilities are visible and the sunflower lanyard is a growing icon to watch out for, as an indicator of a not necessarily physically obvious disability. This should be promoted so that the public in general become familiar with the symbol and perhaps think twice before calling someone out for not wearing a mask.

This article highlights how not wearing a mask is viewed in society, and how many react without realising this is not an act of defiance, but often a hazard of a pre-existing individual struggle.