Why National Epilepsy Week is so important?


Author Nicola: Swanborough, head of external affairs, Epilepsy Society

Epilepsy is an invisible condition which can have a huge impact on people’s lives. That is why National Epilepsy Week, which runs from 20-26 May is such an important opportunity for raising awareness of the condition.

Why National Epilepsy Week is so important?

May 20-26 is National Epilepsy Week, a chance for charities and communities to raise awareness of epilepsy and encourage everyone to learn how to support someone who is having a seizure.

And this year, the Epilepsy Society is launching a brand new awareness-raising video to help people understand more about the condition and the challenges faced by people with uncontrolled epilepsy. It also shows you how to support someone who is having a seizure.

You can watch a trailer of the video here.

The video features Jasmine, a young woman who was asked to leave her university dance course and was turned down for numerous jobs because of her seizures; Tom, who developed epilepsy after falling down a flight of stairs and cracking his skull while on a work trip; and Karen, a mum, who constantly worries about how her son is coping with his seizures at university.

National Epilepsy Week is an important week in the calendar and it is an important video. There are around 630,000 people in the UK with epilepsy – that is 1 in 100. For a third of them – 200,000 – their seizures cannot be controlled by medication. That means they live every day never knowing whether they will have a seizure, and that can contribute to both anxiety and depression. Tragically, some seizures can be fatal. There are 1,200 epilepsy-related deaths in the UK every year, many of them young people on the cusp of independent life in the workplace or university.

We hope our video will help increase awareness of epilepsy among councils, organisations and community groups who want to be able to support those living in their neighbourhood who have epilepsy. And our seizure first aid is so simple, it is impossible to forget.

If someone is having a seizure where they fall shaking to the ground, all you have to remember is just three short words - Calm, Cushion, Call. Stay calm, cushion their head, call for help. But it’s important to know that there are over 40 different seizure types. 

All epileptic seizures begin in the brain, but what they look like will depend on where in the brain they begin. Some seizures may involve movements such as lip smacking, pulling at clothes or repetitive jerking movements on one or both sides of the body.

Other seizures may mean a person wanders around in a confused state. They may be able to hear you but not be able to respond. Sometimes, as a person comes out of a seizure, they may be unsteady and tired – often they are mistaken for being drunk, adding to the trauma of having a seizure.

You can find out how to support someone through other seizure types at Epilepsy Society’s website.

This National Epilepsy Week we hope communities across the UK will help to raise awareness of seizure first aid by arranging to watch our film and by placing seizure first aid posters in public spaces such as supermarkets and community halls. You can download them here.

Making sure your community is epilepsy aware could give people with the condition greater confidence to go out in your neighbourhood. It could also save a life.

If you would like to arrange to share our epilepsy awareness video with your council or community, please email

The following blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional or legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Association of Local Councils. Any links to external sources included in this blog post are provided for convenience and do not constitute endorsement or approval of those websites' content, products, services, or policies. Therefore, readers should use discretion and judgment when applying the information to their circumstances. Finally, this blog post may be updated or revised without notice.

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