ME Awareness

ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Encephalopathy) is a chronic, fluctuating illness, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and sometimes diagnosed as Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS). ME/CFS causes a wide range of symptoms, including exhaustion, aches and pains, and can make it very difficult to concentrate or perform everyday tasks easily.

• It is estimated that as many as 25,000 young people and children in the UK have ME/CFS. That's one pupil out of every 100 in every secondary school.

• Research published by the British Medical Journal (2011) shows that one percent of enrolled children in the UK miss up to a fifth of school because of ME/CFS. This makes the condition the most significant cause of school absence in children.

• A British Medical Journal report also revealed that children with ME/CFS who were detected through school-based clinics were less severely affected than children referred via health services, and appeared to do well once treated.

• The most common age of onset is 13-15, but cases can occur as young as two years old.

• Up to 25 per cent of people with ME/CFS are severely affected, either house or bedbound and unable to look after themselves.

The Association of Young People with ME (AYME) is the largest charity in the UK for children and young people with ME/CFS.  AYME is leading a campaign to celebrate ME Awareness Week on 11th – 17th May. ME Awareness Week is the perfect time for schools to review whether staff are able to give informed advice on ME/CFS when required and understand the varied and debilitating challenges which the condition can put in the way of learning. School can be a really difficult place for young people with ME/CFS because so few people understand what the condition is, and the challenges it creates. Just being surrounded by people with a basic understanding of these facts can make any learning environment more comfortable for ME/CFS sufferers.

AYME is always happy to provide help, resources and information for activities such as these, as well as answer any questions. The charity runs an information and help line every weekday 10am – 2pm, which can be reached on 08451 232389, or you can visit the website for more information, at