All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for February 2003

Talking about your MS to family, friends and colleagues

January, 2003
MS Trust

Talking about your MS to family, friends and colleagues

There is no denying that living with MS can be difficult, frustrating and at times, frightening, particularly when you are first diagnosed. It can take some time to come to terms with the fact that your life is likely to change and it is natural to grieve for what you may lose. In the initial stages, it is likely that only those who are very close to you will be aware that you have MS. Once you have had time to adjust, you may want to think about telling a wider circle of people. Choosing whether you want to do this and how you might do so can be a complex decision. This factsheet aims to provide some ideas to help you to think about these issues.

Telling friends and family for the first time

MS doesn’t only affect you – it may also impact on those around you. Broaching the subject for the first time with family and friends can be a little daunting. However, keeping things hidden can be a great strain, so it is often a relief to get things out in the open. The chances are that you will find most people to be sympathetic and supportive when they are aware of your situation.

Questions to consider Getting the support you need from family and friends

Even if your MS is common knowledge, you will still need on-going support and help from those around you. Most people have no idea what it is like to have MS and you will need to express your needs clearly so that people know best how and when to help and support you – an on-going dialogue is essential.

People you need to tell that you have MS Telling your employers and colleagues that you have MS

If you work, the chances are that you may at some stage want to tell your employers and colleagues that you have MS. This may be because symptoms are affecting your work or because you need special equipment or would like to change your working patterns.


MS Trust
Tel 01462 476700

MS Society
Helpline 0808 800 8000

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
Brandon House, 180 Borough High Street, London SE1 1LW
Helpline 08457 47 47 47

Disability Law Service
Ground Floor, 39-45 Cavell Street, London, E1 2BP
Tel 020 7791 9800

Disability Rights Commission
DRC Helpline, Freepost MID 02164, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 9HY
Tel 08457 622 633

Disability Unit in the Department for Work and Pensions
Disability Unit, Department for Work and Pensions, Level 6, Adelphi
Building, John Adams Street, London, WC2N 6HT

National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB)
Myddelton House, 115-123 Pentonville Road, London N1 9LZ
Details of your nearest branch will be in the phone book, alternatively:
Tel 020 7833 2181

The MS Trust

The MS Trust believes that current, accurate information is an essential tool for those who live with MS. We provide positive, realistic and up-to-date information to people with MS, their family, friends and the health and social care professionals who work with them.

The MS Trust promotes the role of MS specialist nurses and is the major provider of educational programmes for nurses and allied health professionals working within the field of MS. It also funds research into ways of better managing the symptoms of MS and campaigns to achieve a better deal for people with MS.

MS Trust
Spirella Building,
Bridge Road,
Letchworth Garden City,
Herts SG6 4ET
Tel: 01462 476700 Fax: 01462 476710 Web:

© 2003, MS Trust