Person sitting in garden smiling and resting arms on the back of their chair

Content note: this blog mentions ableism, internalised ableism and trauma.  

Liel K. Bridgford is a proud disabled person and former mental health counsellor. She shares some thoughts on living with a disability and supporting your mental health, including the benefits of opening up and finding role models in the disability community. 

Disability is any physical, brain or mind difference that, combined with the environment, creates barriers to living a full life. The definition of disability can also include mental health issues. This is sometimes called having a psychosocial disability or psychiatric disability.  

Our society is filled with inaccessible spaces for people living with disabilities, as well as negative attitudes around disability. In Australia, people with disabilities experience several social disadvantages, like a lower likelihood of achieving higher education and a higher chance of being outside the workforce.  

These social inequalities can all impact mental health. Understanding how your disabilities, environment and mental health influence each other can help you navigate challenges and care for yourself.  

How can living with a disability in our society affect mental health? 

What can you do? 

Living with a disability and society’s ableism can have implications for your mental health. An important first step in supporting yourself is knowing what this feels and looks like for you. Plus, finding more sources of support and information can positively impact the way you feel about your disability and yourself.  

Where to from here? 


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2020). Disability and the labour force. 

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings.