Stoma Aware day 2023 takes place on Saturday 7th October and our theme for this year is ‘Smash Social Exclusion’.

So what is social exclusion and how does it relate to people living with a stoma.

Social exclusion can be defined as ‘The exclusion of part of society from ‘any of the social, economic, political and cultural systems which determine the social integration of a person in society’

Our research shows that for many people living with a stoma in the UK a combination of a lack of suitable toilet facilities, and lack of awareness limits their ability to do many of the things  that much of society will take for granted, leading to them feeling socially excluded.

  • 62% of respondents believe a lack of suitable toilet facilities impacts on their daily life, limiting their ability to do many of the things we take for granted such as going to the shops, the theatre, or a coffee with friends. This figure is significantly higher than the 20% of the general public that the Royal Society for Public Health reported in 2019, are put off venturing from their homes as often as they would like due to a concern over lack of toilets.
  • 25% are also worried about using an accessible toilet having previously been verbally or physically abused for doing so, as their disability/ condition is hidden. This behaviour from others can lead to mental health issues and isolation for the individual
  • 22% believe a lack of general awareness of stomas, and the day to day challenges of managing their stoma impacts on their daily life
  • 4 % do not go out due to worries about being able to manage their stomas

What is a stoma?

A stoma is an opening on the surface of the abdomen which has been surgically created to divert the flow of faeces or urine. People who have had stoma surgery are sometimes known as ‘ostomates’.

It is now estimated that 1 in 335 people in the UK are currently living with a stoma.

Individuals of all ages can have a stoma. Stoma surgery is undertaken to treat a range of illnesses including cancer, diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease or following a trauma to the abdomen.

Check out our info page here for more.

How can you support Stoma Aware Day 2023 and help us to ‘Smash Social Exclusion’ for people living with a stoma in the UK.

Download our Stoma Aware poster and encourage businesses and organisations to display it, or share it on your social media!

Download our  Stoma Selfie Sign and share it on Stoma Aware Day(October 7th) explaining why Smashing Social Exclusion for people with stomas is important to you.

PDF version.      PGN version.

Share our stories about how Social Exclusion has impacted people living with a stoma.

Artist Tracey Emin shares her experiences of living with a stoma and attitudes in society.

Lindsay explains how her negative experiences have driven her to campaign for change

Graeme tells us why he joined our Stoma Friendly toilets campaign and why YOU should get involved.

Rachel explains why she’s so passionate about campaigning for Stoma Friendly toilets in Scotland

Lyn tells the BBC that more needs to be done to make the city “stoma friendly” after her confidence was knocked by a recent shopping trip.

Join our campaign for more Stoma Friendly Toilets – find out more here

Stay in touch