The UK has a very long history of supporting people with facial disfigurements and being a leader in innovation for treatments. From the surgeons working in England during WWI who pioneered the first real plastic surgery techniques, to the Guinea Pig Club in WWII that innovated many of the modern techniques for treating burns, to the National Health Service being one of the largest single funders of research into new and novel techniques.
Even with this remarkable set of accolades, the UK still has a long way to go in providing adequate support for people with facial disfigurements. It is a very often overlooked issue that does not have the “cuteness factor” or rarity that can bring large numbers of people together to support a cause. Facial disfigurement is very common, with more than half a million people living with significant facial disfigurements every day in the UK. It works out to about one in every 111 people having a facial disfigurement, from acne to facial burns. Even so, most people do not think about how difficult it is to live with facial disfigurement. Bullying and harassment being dealt with more effectively in areas such as racism and sexism but discrimination based on facial appearance is rife and very often unchallenged.
Talk to your doctor
There is a lot of support available from the NHS. The easiest way to access the support is through your local GP. They have the expertise and connections to put you in contact with local and national charities, agencies, and individuals who might be able to help.
You might be surprised at the amount of help available from the NHS. There is a great deal of surgery and therapy available, including mental health assistance for dealing with the often difficult feelings from having facial disfigurement.
Alternatively, there is private health care. Insurance from agencies like Bupa give you access to very extensive resources. Often it is better to go private for mental health issues as the NHS is underfunded and overwhelmed, especially for mental health. In some cases, cosmetic surgery for facial deformity is not available on the NHS and might have to be paid for out of pocket. It is not ideal, but it is a reality for many people.
The NHS website has a lot of information and resources on what is available, not just from the NHS but around the UK.
The internet has made finding support locally much easier. Facebook groups can quickly put you in contact with support groups, experts, and people with similar conditions who can provide valuable experience and insight. Again, talking to your GP about what is available could be helpful.
Although there is clear room for improvement, the UK has been one of the leading forces in both treatment for facial disfigurement and raising awareness. From the early advances during World War One treating horrifically injured soldiers, to the first plastic surgeons and reconstructive surgery being available, the UK has paved the way for facial disfigurement representation and treatment.
Perhaps the biggest factor is the charitable sector in the UK. Groundbreaking work by philanthropists, scientists, and everyday people have brought the issue of facial disfigurement into the public sphere and kept it there. Tireless campaigns to bringing more effective legislation and provision have resulted in the NHS being one of the best places to receive treatment for facial disfigurements. However, the work is far from over and the UK continues to lead the world for advances in the treatment and acceptance of facial disfigurement. Here are a few of the best known charities for people seeking information and advice regarding facial disfigurement.
Finding information about facial disfigurements in the UK has never been easier. Hopefully, the list below provides some help in finding support, friendship, and more information on facial disfigurement.
The charity Changing Faces helps roughly 1.3 million people in the UK with facial disfigurements every year. They fund education campaigns, public awareness campaigns, and research into revolutionary treatments and provision for those who need it.
Facial disfigurement is still somewhat of a taboo topic in the UK, even with all the remarkable research and progress that has been made. One of the most important jobs that Changing Faces does is to increase awareness of facial disfigurement and thereby reduce stigma.
Changing Faces also run a popular support forum where people can talk to others with similar conditions and gain support and advice that they need. By building communities, Changing Faces helps to improve the lives of people with facial disfigurements in the UK.
On the website for Changing Faces, anyone can find a wide range of advice and information, including regional centres and self-help guides. They are particularly successful at working with children who often face the brunt of bullying and discrimination. With simple awareness campaigns, the lives of countless children in the UK have been improved by Changing Faces. They provide a wealth of information for employers, teachers, and health professionals on how to deal with issues like facial disfigurement in sensitive and appropriate ways.
Changing Faces have been at the forefront of the campaign to stop the film industry using scars and facial disfigurements as props to denote villainy. It is an often-overlooked aspect of visual media that evil people are portrayed as ugly or disfigured, and Changing Faces have done a lot to challenge this and raise awareness.
For anyone seeking information on how to deal with their own facial disfigurement, or that of a loved one, the Changing Faces charity should be the first stop.
The UK registered medical charity Facing the World are a leading force in providing sustainable solutions for children in developing countries with severe facial and craniofacial issues. They do not provide their services in the UK, but they campaign around the world and provide vital services for vulnerable children. You can donate or offer your time and make a huge difference to the lives of children in the developing world with Facing the World.
Facial palsy UK is a leading UK charity that provides information and support for people suffering from facial palsy. The website has a lot of resources that you can use to find further charities and links.
This charity supports families of disabled children regardless of disability. They support many children with facial disfigurement.
The Moebius Research Trust has been raising awareness of Moebius Syndrome for a long time and has secured vital research into the rare condition. Moebius syndrome causes facial paralysis and can stop children from smiling.
An absolutely vital service for parents of children with disabilities, including facial disfigurement. The National Network of Parent Carer Forums provides support and information for anyone who is caring for a child with complex needs. They link together people who are often isolated and dealing with rare and hard to treat conditions.
Do exactly that: provide support for families of children born with birthmarks.
The leading UK charities that give advice and resources to help people camouflage their disfigurements.