• Gretchen White

Physical Disabilities and Mental Health

Depression and suicidal ideation are more likely among people with disabilities due to factors like abuse, isolation, and stressors related to poverty, among others. (Morrison, H., Healthline. 2020).

"Suicide is often seen as significantly more acceptable for people with disabilities".

Because individuals with physical disabilities have fewer accessibilities, opportunities, and friendships than individuals without physical disabilities, the chances of their mental health being affected is great. Individuals with functional limitations experience a disadvantage with opportunities to have an active social life that is outside of their "bubble".

As we all know, when we are isolated from others, the effect it has on our mental health is great. It is a known fact that lack of social interaction can have a great impact on a person's well-being and mental health. Our well-being has a way of changing our day-to-day functions, moods, and outlook on life. But when you are already having problems just dealing with your day-to-day due to a physical disability, the wellness level can already be at a low. How any individual sees themselves can put a hold on how they interact with others because they believe this is how others will see them.

"It’s important that all people feel supported when it comes to mental health".

Besides not having a social life due to limitations, there are other areas that can also lower the mental health of individuals with physical disabilities:

Lack of employment opportunities - Having a disability can make it extremely difficult to find a job. Having the opportunity to work plays a big part in how we perceive ourselves.

Discrimination - When people do not understand something they have the tendency to put up barriers against it and judge, point fingers, or bully.

Financial difficulties - Having to pay for needed equipment, medication, or others necessities can place a toll on someone who is already suffering. And often individuals with physical disabilities are often targeted by scammers promising money to help with their situation.

"Well-being defined as the subjective appraisal of one’s functioning, mood and satisfaction with life complements the concept of mental health to represent this important dimension".

Social relationships play an important role in mental health and well being in persons with disabilities. Integrating persons with disabilities into social networks is important for their mental health and physical health, too. This is especially important for individuals who were not born with physical limitations but obtained limitations due to an accident. These individuals often struggle with:

  • Shock

  • Anxiousness

  • Denial

  • Depression

  • Anger (internal and external)

  • Acceptance

  • Adjustment

Living with a physical disability can affect more than the individual's ability, it can affect their mental health as well.

If at anytime you believe your mental health has reached a point of harmful instability, please contact your mental health services in your area.


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