Mental health is a big issue in today’s world. Apart from heart attacks, strokes, and cancer, depression and anxiety are among the leading causes of death in the world today. We must understand the life of someone who is going through mental issues. This way, we know how we can help them through their attacks or their episodes, and we know how to conduct ourselves in a manner that does not trigger them in any way. The goal is to ultimately help people through their time of struggle without having any judgment towards them.
For many, families are whom we can depend on in times of trials and challenges. There are those who are related by blood and can count on one another but there are also those who have close ties but aren’t really related by blood. Whatever the circumstances may be, the family is considered to be there for you when no one else will.
Disabled folks are some of the most remarkable individuals in my book. That is especially true if they can do their daily tasks without needing a nurse or helper.
Imagine, it is already challenging for non-disabled people to cook, drive, and clean after themselves regularly and be expected to have a full-time job. To do the latter, they typically order food or pay no mind to how dirty their place can get. But many individuals who have lost a limb or different senses can do all that and more on their own.
The thing is, that has been the case before the pandemic. Life is much different now, considering we all need to self-isolate, and immunocompromised folks are not supposed to leave their homes. Though a person with a disability may not have an existing condition, it will be challenging to move everywhere without bumping or talking to strangers. Thus, it brings us down to the question: “How can a PWD live through the pandemic without going out?”
Take Advantage Of Online Marketplaces
The first thing you must do is sign up at virtual marketplaces where you can buy groceries, clothes, medicine, and other essentials. Amazon is not the only website for that; Target, Walmart, and other stores have sites, too.
The significance of taking advantage of online marketplaces is that you won’t ever have to go out to get whatever you need. Once you find them on the website, you can add the items to your virtual cart and hit the Checkout button. Then, after paying for your orders in advance, you can expect delivery within several days.
Call A Friend
Assuming you are not the type of person to call or video chat with your friends, you may have no choice but to do that during the pandemic. After all, the crisis has forced all of us to keep a distance from each other. Social gatherings are strongly discouraged; you cannot even give anyone a high five.
By calling your friends often, it will do amazing things to your mental well-being. You can talk about life before and during the quarantine, for instance, and make plans about what you will do afterward. You may also lift each other’s spirits, especially when you or a friend goes into the depressed mode.
Find New Hobbies
Considering you are all alone at home, and none of your friends are available for a day of chatting, you can let the time pass by finding new hobbies. Sewing, knitting, cooking, indoor gardening—the sky is the limit. Any activity will do as long as it will not require you to leave the house.
I get it if being a hobbyist may not have been in your plans in the past. You may have a career to build; you cannot waste your time looking for hobbies that you will enjoy forever. However, doing so can reduce your loneliness and make you feel like you have had a productive day even when you have not left your place in weeks.
Getting used to the “new normal” that everyone is talking about may take time. It will undoubtedly not happen overnight; there may be times when you want to question what the government is even doing to end the pandemic. Still, what else can we do?
If you are disabled and profoundly affected by this pandemic, you should follow the tips above and stay at home. You may feel bored or worried about your career and relationships, but those cannot be on top of your priorities. Instead, you need to focus on avoiding the coronavirus, considering the cure or vaccine for it remains as a product of someone’s imagination.
The 2019 Disability Studies Event was a mini-conference that our entire department had organized to boost people’s knowledge about the lives of people with disabilities. In truth, these folks had been experiencing discrimination less and less in the 21st century. A lot of public facilities became altered and fitted for their needs. But many abled individuals could still use some help in understanding how to treat them better.
To make the event all-encompassing, my team decided to invited PWDs to share, talk, and celebrate with us as we highlight disability studies. Before inviting them, though, we made sure to do the following:
Provide Pamphlets In Braille
Attendees typically receive pamphlets before or on the day of the conference to inform them about the topics to look forward to, the panelists’ names, etc. But if you expect visually impaired folks to be in attendance, you should consider translating the words into Braille. That will make the pamphlet useful as it can save them from needing to ask their companion about who’s talking next.
Add Ramps And Designated Spaces For Wheelchairs
I had once been to a seminar focused on expanding everyone’s knowledge about physical disabilities, but there was no PWD in sight. When I asked around, I found that that it was because the auditorium was not wheelchair-friendly.
Considering you don’t wish for an encore of that, you should think of how you can add ramps around the events center. You may also designate spaces for the wheelchairs so that they can come and go without bumping into each other.
Put Subtitle Or Sign Language Interpreter On Screen
Mute or deaf individuals tend to learn how to do lip reading so that they can communicate with others effectively. However, during a conference, and the guest speaker stands a few feet away from them, this technique may not be helpful.
A quick fix for this matter is putting a subtitle or sign language interpreter on a screen behind the panelist. The former will work if the speaker gives you a copy of their speech; the latter will be able to translate the words in real-time. You may try either or both options.
Let’s all bear in mind that PWDs are as capable as everyone else to do anything. If they want to attend a conference for disability studies, that’s awesome. If they are willing to join the panelists, that’s even better. However, sometimes, we need to help them by doing little things like the ones mentioned above to ensure that they can attend without a hassle.
This COVID-19 outbreak has impaired not only the physical health of those who have contracted the virus but the mental health of millions of people worldwide. It has affected 212 countries on this planet, with around 4.2 million individuals who are confirmed of suffering from COVID-19. Also, 280 thousand people are now dead and have been cremated because of this illness. This happened in a span of four or five months. I mean, who would not have an anxiety episode or a depressive mood after learning of this?
As an avid supporter of groups that accommodate people with disabilities, I attended the 2018 Disability Conference. It was part of my advocacy to go to such events as much as I could, and I felt happy with how this specific one turned out. A lot of disabled people came out to learn about different disabilities and how to keep on moving forward despite their new situation.
Still, what caught my attention was a band of young adults in the crowd. They did not seem to know other folks there, but they were showing genuine interest in the conference. I could not help but greet them to figure out why they attended the event.
“We want to understand the best way to treat a disabled person,” one of the young adults said. “We don’t wish to offend anyone in the future due to our naivety about such conditions.” This answer warmed my heart so much that I introduced the young adults to the event organizer, and they volunteer with us annually up to this day.
Now, if you are thinking about the same thing as those curious individuals, you need not attend a conference to get answers. Here’s how you can treat a disabled person correctly.
Never Pity Them
Helping or looking at someone with pity in your eyes can be insulting, especially if they have a physical disability. You can be of service without making them feel like a burden.
Stay Supportive Without Being Overbearing
Basically, you can offer assistance to a disabled person, but don’t insist too much. Being overly supportive can cause them to question their significance in the community.
See Them As Your Equal
People with disabilities may appreciate it more if you treat them like non-disabled folks. This idea ties in with the truth that your extra kindness can be seen as pity, and that’s not what you want.
The life of an individual with a permanent disability is especially challenging in the beginning. It becomes more difficult than it should be, though, if you don’t treat them well.
Remember the ideas mentioned above to be able to communicate with disabled folks without an issue.
As long as it is a passion, not even blindness can stop a person from playing music. This concept is compelling as it conveys a strong message of no disability can prevent someone from pursuing his dreams. It makes people curious about how a person with a disadvantage can turn something into a masterpiece. It is somehow like watching a miracle. There are a number of blind musicians all over the world, but there are three who made it to the spotlight. What makes them extra special among others? What caused their disability?
3 Famous Blind Musicians Of All Time
Art Tatum was a renowned 20th-century jazz pianist. He was famous for his magnificent musical arrangements and profound pop standards revive. He was born in 1909 in Toledo, Ohio. He suffered from cataracts during infancy which then made him blind in one eye, and he could only see minimally in the other. Despite the disability, he taught himself how to play the piano, reading sheet music using the Braille system, and memorizing piano rolls and recordings. He also had some training at the Toledo School of Music.
Art Tatum was already famous locally during his teenage years, and at the age of 19, he played with Jon Hendricks at Toledo’s Waiters & Bellman’s Club. He then captivated the attention of jazz personalities Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie, and his musical stardom began.
In 1943, Art Tatum formed a trio with Tiny Grimes (electric guitar) and Slam Stewart (double bass), and in 1944, played in a jazz concert at the Metropolitan Opera House. He also made a cameo role in the movie The Fabulous Dorseys in 1947. He died in 1956.
Sir George Shearing is another world-renowned jazz pianist who did not let a disability stop him from conquering the world of music. He was born in 1919 in London, and he was the youngest of nine children. Sir George was blind since birth. He studied music at the Linden Lodge School for the Blind for four years. He was outstanding and he won many university scholarships. He used to play the piano in a pub for $5 a week!
Sir George then became a part of an all-blind band in the 1930s and later became friends with the renowned jazz critic, Leonard Feather. Then, his first debut on BBC radio happened. He composed over 300 songs, and in 2007, the Queen of England knighted him. He had also played at the White House for three presidents. Sadly, he left us at the age of 91 due to heart failure.
Ronnie Milsap is another music legend with multiple Grammy Awards as a country music singer and pianist. He was born in 1943 in North Carolina and became blind due to a congenital disorder. Unlike most blind musicians, Milsap had a passion for country music as he grew up listening to it as well as gospel music. His teachers noticed his extraordinary talent at the age of seven.
Ronnie Milsap studied at Morehead State School for the Blind in Raleigh where he learned to play the piano, violin, and guitar. In 1964, he produced his first single “Total Disaster,” and it was in 1971 when Warner Brothers released his debut album. He had won the Grammys six times.
Clearly, among many others, these three gentlemen proved that there is no limit to what we can achieve. The only hindrance we have is the one we make in our minds. Being blind may be a disadvantage for some, but it allowed these three legends to see the world differently. They may not have the gift of sight, but it then gave them the gift of music.
In 2012, SSA provided benefits to nearly 15 million disabled adults and children. Currently, state agencies determine disability based on medical and other evidence considered relevant in an applicant’s case record — which may include standardized psychological tests. — Rick Nauert PhD
If you ever applied for a mental health disability benefits due to anxiety, depression, or other mental illness, there’s a chance the insurance company can deny our claim. As much as what you experience is real and challenging, there are certain standards that the law follows, and if you miss out on one, you might have trouble claiming your disability benefits. There are several factors that could affect your claim, and you don’t want that to add to your depression.
5 Factors Affecting Your Mental Health Disability Claim:
You Do Not Seek Professional Help From A Psychiatrist
To validate your claim, you need to be seeing a psychiatrist or a specialist in mental illness treatment. If you fail to do so, it could be a real problem on your part because it could mean that your condition is not that serious. The insurance company needs to see that you at least consult a psychiatrist on your treatment.
With unseen disabilities, there is no way others can offer extra help, or sensitivity, unless you mention the problem. This is true not only for physical disabilities, but for psychological ones as well. — Nicole S. Urdang, MS, NCC, DHM
Given your condition does not get better, the insurance company may use this as a reason to deny your benefits since you must seek help and you failed to do so.
- You need to request your doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist for a consultation.
You Do Not Have A Regular Care From A Family Doctor
It is the policy of an insurance company to require that the client is getting “regular care” from a doctor which means they will see to it that you are seeing your family doctor regularly, not just for a single consultation but on a regular basis which then depends on your mental illness or treatment plan.
The reason why it is imperative that you be seeing a doctor is that it is a sign that you have the desire to get better, and you are not using your mental health condition as a way to get benefits. You need to show the insurance company that you are doing all you can or that you have sought different options for the improvement of your condition.
- It would help if you never skip an appointment with your doctor unless the reason is valid as an emergency or a life-threatening situation. You also have to ascertain that you are monitoring your prescription medications.
You Do Not Seek Recommended Treatment From A Psychologist
When you have a mental illness such as anxiety and depression, psychological treatment and medications are the recommended course to gain improvement. Your family doctor will prescribe it when deemed necessary and failure to adhere means you are not sincere in improving your mental health.
- Like seeing a psychiatrist, seeing a psychologist is a must if your family doctor recommended it; otherwise, there is a considerable chance you would not get the benefits. If you could not afford psychological treatment, request for a referral to an outpatient program covered by health insurance.
Your Healthcare Providers Do Not Meet The Standard
It is the discretion of the insurance company whether the treatment you are receiving from either psychiatrist or psychologist meets their standard, meaning you have to make sure that your healthcare providers are credible or accredited by the insurance company.
It may be challenging on your part to distinguish who is reliable or not because we can assume that all doctors are professional. However, if they don’t follow the best practices for the treatment of your condition, the insurance company may cite this as the basis for the denial of your claim.
- You are always free to ask for a second opinion, and you can also ask your psychiatrist regarding the best treatment options for your illness.
You Do Not Have The Appropriate Documentation Of Your Treatment
There should be appropriate documentation of the treatment you are receiving such as logs, medical charts, or patient files; otherwise, your treatment plan does not exist. It means that no matter how credible your health care provider is if he doesn’t give a report or documentation of your appointments, it could be all for nothing.
- You can bring this up on the initial consultation. Although it is seldom that practitioners forget about creating reports, it is still for the best that they are aware of your claim.
Anxiety and depression are both challenging mental health disabilities. These can be somewhat underrated but dangerous when left untreated. These can also cause you not to function correctly, therefore affecting your ability to earn a living. When you have either of these conditions, you deserve the right to disability benefits. You have to know which things to avoid to make sure your claim doesn’t get denied.
With about 7.6 billion world population, about 1.1 billion have some form of disability, and according to WHO (World Health Organization), about 2% to 4% have a significant problem functioning. Some of us may not know how it is like to live without something essential like the sense of sight, hearing, the act of walking, standing, holding hands, and more. However, what is it that disabled people have that most don’t? Does disability mean inability altogether? What is the difference between the two?
When we use the term “disability,” many people think about the obvious, including mobility impairments and common sensory disabilities, such as blindness. However, disabilities also include a number of other conditions that typically are invisible to others. — Alecia M. Santuzzi, Ph.D.
What Is Disability?
Disability means a condition where a person has limited senses or movements. It could be due to a physical condition such as losing eyesight or hearing, incapable of walking due to an injury or a medical condition. Stroke can paralyze one person. Depending on the severity, it can be one side of the body or all the extremities could be affected.
Loss Of Sight
Blindness is one of the most challenging conditions because it somewhat contradicts what people always say, “Go and see the world. It is the only way to live.” As per the National Health Interview Survey, approximately 25.5 million American adults are either having trouble seeing or completely blind. People who cannot see use the Braille method to read. It is a system of dots that signifies the letters of the alphabet.
Loss Of Hearing
Deafness or hearing loss is another challenging disability because it takes away the capability to hear the sound. Without the sense of hearing, how can one communicate? How can a person hear music? How can they watch movies? People with hearing problems use sign language to convey and understand messages. They use their hands to send a message or represent the alphabet. Also, movies nowadays use subtitles, so people who could not hear the dialogue and effects could relate to what they see.
It’s a two-edged sword: I like no one knowing of my deafness unless I tell them, yet they can’t make any allowances for my hearing loss unless I share my disability. — Nicole S. Urdang, MS, NCC, DHM
Paralysis Or Injury Of The Hands/Arms Or Feet/Legs
As per the Reeve Foundation, about 5.4 million people are experiencing some form of paralysis. It can affect how they function as it could hinder the ability to use the hands or arms for holding, moving, writing and the ability to use the feet or legs for walking, running, playing sports and more. Some paralysis can even affect the whole body that it causes a person to stay in bed.
Mental Health Disabilities
Mental health illnesses affect a person’s ability to learn, speak, or comprehend the way most people do. It is the reason why they need “special” attention because they have a particular means of acquiring knowledge and skills, but it doesn’t make them any less. People with mental health illnesses require treatment given by a psychiatrist and psychologist. They also need to take prescribed medications to manage the symptoms of their condition.
What Is The Difference Between Disability And Inability?
Disability, as discussed above, is a limitation of a person’s ability to function brought about by illnesses or injuries. People who live with disabilities may live life differently. They have particular methods to read, communicate, or function. However, when you think about disability, it is somewhat superficial. Yes, it could affect the thinking, but people with it didn’t have a choice.
Inability is being able, but one chooses not to be. It is quite common nowadays. For instance, people pass by the street seeing a homeless man who has probably not eaten for days. He asks for help, maybe even begging for some money. What do most people do?
Cognitive psychological tests are performance-based and have people answer questions and solve problems as well as they possibly can. Non-cognitive psychological tests are measures of typical behavior such as personality, interests, values, and attitudes. — Rick Nauert PhD
A disability may prevent a person from helping because he couldn’t see or hear the man. One may be stuck in the house not being able to see the actual situation. Some with mental health problems may not be able to comprehend what the man needs. Disability can cause them not to help.
The inability, on the other hand… It’s what most people do.
Having a disability is to live life without some of the things that people deem necessary such as the loss of sight or hearing, the inability to use the feet and hands, or other condition which hinders the normal function of a person. Yes, it is difficult to deal with these disadvantages, but it doesn’t mean we should treat them negatively.
Though it may be easy to say, people with disabilities should learn how to transform it into something positive by being an inspiration. It doesn’t always to be dull and pitiful. It may be challenging, but they should learn how to turn that frown upside down and smile!
Ways To Turn Disability To Inspiration:
Discover Things You Are Good At
Discover the talent you want to develop and give all your attention to it. As the saying goes “practice makes perfect.” Many people with disabilities made a mark in the music industry like Stevie Wonder. His blindness did not stop him from being exceptionally good. He refused to make his life revolve around his disability. Instead, he used it as a drive to be better than what he and others thought he could be. Sometimes in bettering ourselves, we don’t expect that we can turn out to be the best.
When someone has a visible disability, like needing a walker or being blind, everyone knows they are dealing with certain challenges. — Nicole S. Urdang, MS, NCC, DHM
Enroll in a music school that specializes in teaching students with disabilities. Aside from the new learnings, you get to meet new friends. You get to enhance your social skills which often lack people dealing with disabilities. The insecurity may be great, but with the right mindset, you could conquer the limitations you think you have.
Stop Focusing On What You Lack
Instead of making your life about something you do not have, pour your effort into being grateful for all that you have like your family and friends. Harness the positivity that you get from their affection and turn it into something productive like making art or creating something inspiring.
Not disclosing and requesting accommodations can be detrimental to the performance evaluations of a student or worker if the disability interferes with required tasks. — Alecia M. Santuzzi, Ph.D.
We have seen a disabled person who paints with his foot. His painting is extraordinary because of the difficulty he had to deal with to create it. Unlike people with normally functioning hands, he had to master it without the body part he needed to do it. Did it stop him from being great? No, he made his disability a motivation to be the best. He doesn’t see it as a reason for inability, a challenge maybe, but never inability.
Love Yourself For What You Are
It’s such a cliché to say “nobody is perfect,” but indeed. No one is because you cannot be everyone else. You can only be yourself that no matter the imperfection, you must learn to accept and love who you are. It doesn’t matter if you lack this and that because for whatever it may be, it is all a challenge you have to face. It may be different from most people, but it doesn’t need to be.
Never mind what others might say. There will always be people who will cause you uneasiness but never give in or be affected by them. They may be physically complete which should make them do and act better, but they choose to be inferior. Disability is never inferiority. It is our attitude that defines us.
There are plenty of reasons people put off doing these things, but often the underlying issue is fear. — LuAnn Pierce, LCSW
Losing one of the senses means you have to miss out on some other things, but it doesn’t take away your existence. It just signifies you have to deal with life differently. If you think of it, your understanding of the word “different” is the key because it could say to live life more meaningful and worthwhile.