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SJHH / Patients & Visitors/ Accessibility/ Standards & Training/ Mental Health Disability

Mental Health Disability

Individuals Who Have Mental Health Disabilities

Mental health disabilities are not as visible as many other types of disabilities. You may not know that an individual has a mental health disability unless you’re informed of it. Examples of mental health disabilities include schizophrenia, depression, phobias, as well as bipolar, anxiety and mood disorders.

A person with a mental health disability may have difficulty with one, several or none of these:

  • Inability to think clearly
  • Hallucinations (e.g., hearing voices, seeing or feeling things that aren’t there)
  • Depression or acute mood swings (e.g., from happy to depressed with no apparent reason for the change)
  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Apparent lack of motivation

If someone is experiencing difficulty controlling his or her symptoms, or is in a crisis, you may want to help out. Be calm and professional and ask an individual how you can best help.

Types of assistance an individual might use:

  • Service animal
  • Support person

Guidelines for interacting with individual that may have mental health disabilities

  • Treat a person with a mental health disability with the same respect and consideration you have for everyone else
  • Be patient
  • Be confident and reassuring. Listen carefully and work with an individual to try to meet their needs
  • If someone appears to be in a crisis, ask him or her to tell you the best way to help