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Mental disability: is it Truly Invisible?

So, what are the "invisible" disabilities we hear about?

Meet Hannah. She has a family, clean house and seems like a lovely, outgoing person when you first meet her. She is intelligent, smart, kind and looks out for others. However, what you may not realise when you first met her is that she has OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)- a type of mental disability.

Hannah is rarely able to leave her house without being filled with anxiety and distress. She misses her own children's school events and struggles to even do the weekly food shop. It makes her physically sick at the thought. She is constantly surrounded by her anxious thoughts to perform a behaviour that will supress her anxiety about her obsessions but that only lasts for a short period of time before it happens again.

How do we help people like Hannah?

As you can see by the quote above, thousands of people are affected by mental disabilities every year. So how can we help people who are struggling? I know the easiest answer to say is get treatment as most mental illnesses can be assessed and treated due to the rise of knowledge in Psychology. However, unfortunately, it is not as easy as that to the majority of people.

70-75% of people with diagnosable mental illness receive no treatment at all.

I am sure you are as shocked as I am by that figure. But, if you think about it, if they lose their jobs and are not working, then how can they afford treatment? If they lose their jobs, then how can they afford to provide for themselves and their family? It's an endless cycle that people struggle to get out off, but this can be stopped (or at least reduced) with the right help and support.

Support in the workplace is a good place to start. One way in which the advancement of technology in today's society has helped and supported people with mental illnesses is remote working. Especially since covid, a lot more jobs have appeared where you can work from home. This is perfect for someone like Hannah. She can provide for her family and be in her safe space and comfort of her own home.

OCD can take over your life but there are resources to help manage it and your wellbeing.

By educating yourself around the topic of OCD and other mental disabilities, the easier it is to manage and overcome this. Whether it's something you are experiencing yourself to overcome or someone you know, educate yourself to improve the support that is available.

Small exposure to anxiety provoking situations may help. In Hannah's example, getting her out of the house to do something small can help her in being able to cope with her anxiety. In addition to this, having a support network with her to do this, will be encouraging and let her know that it is okay and that she is safe.

Learn to let go. Be able to manage your stress by relaxation techniques, meditation, reading a book. Stress and anxiety can make your mental health worse so by conquering this, it will make a difference in your day-to-day life. Do what you love.

What are the other types of mental disabilities?

If you didn't know before, you now know about OCD, and we can work together to make it not so taboo to talk about and provide support those who need it. However, there isn't just one mental disability to look out for. In fact, there's loads and some you would not even consider looking out for.

The different mental health conditions that can lead to a disability are as followed:

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

  • Dementia

  • Depression

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Schizophrenia

Many more mental health conditions can be reported as a mental disability if they are severe enough. It is so important that individuals can seek help and have support before their mental health reaches this point as so many negative impacts can be caused due to this. Many individuals will suffer silently but it is important to educate yourself on the possible signs that your peers may be struggling. This is whether that is at work or in your personal life.

Be the support that somebody may desperately need!


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