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New signs are appearing on disabled toilets across the UK in a bid to recognise and increase awareness of people with invisible illnesses, as well as those with mobility issues.

Tottenham Hotspur is the first football club to feature the new signs with the slogan: “not all disabilities are visible” on their disabled toilets. According to a report by the BBC, some supermarkets in the UK are following suit.

In the report, two long-term sufferers of debilitating health conditions explain why the new signs are crucial to highlighting these issues. Mel Richards, 23, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) said: “I think the main thing you need to remember is MS symptoms are different for every sufferer – for me it’s the invisible symptoms of fatigue, loss of sensation in your limbs and fingertips and large amount of pain that’s difficult. I also suffer from general muscle wastage and weakness and cognitive problems mean I sometimes forget what I want to say.

“If I go out without my stick and go to the toilet, or sit down on a priority seat on the bus, people judge me, especially because I’m young. I really think these signs will help young people.”

Charlotte Guinea, 25, who suffers from Ulcerative Colitis, added: “To the public we look like ‘normal’ young adults, they don’t realise the pain, fatigue and side effects from medications that the majority of us experience on a day to day basis.” The report added Charlotte has been confronted “many times” when using disabled toilets.

There are many instances in which someone using a wheelchair or mobility scooter will struggle with difficulties accessing bathrooms and changing facilities, but the campaign aims to highlight all disabilities and encourage a more inclusive attitude.

Andy McGuiness from Crohns and Colitis UK said: “They are a recognition that not all disabilities can be seen and why not having a clear visible disability doesn’t mean you don’t need to use toilets.”

Image credit: Steve Johnson

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