How physical disability affects teenage mental health? Physical disability and teenage mental health are related issues in many ways. Disability in different forms in different teenagers put forth varying problems and concerns. However, disability also gives strength, resilience, courage, and hope to overcome all of these problems to different extent.
The US Census Bureau 2010 indicate that 12 % of the children are diagnosed with one disability in US. These children are between 5 to 17 years of age. They have autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD, or developmental delays. The way an adolescent look at his disability depends a lot on the environment where he lives. Cultural implications are also significant in this regard.
The problems that arise due to some disability in teenagers are often overlooked. Some teens suffer not just single but multiple mental health issues due to their physical disability. In addition to physical disability, learning disabilities also pose greater mental health issues. We can solve these issues with proper care and support. But, obviously, we want to prevent these issues in the first place. The percentage of mental issues are high in disable kids compared to healthy kids.
Physical disability and teenager
There are some common reasons for the mental health problems in disables teens. Also there are some common ways to make sure that the teens do not suffer through these issues. But, obviously, the key is that the problems are fixed in the bud or better not let it happen. Childhood is the best time to think about the mental health problems and why they trigger in some adolescents.
The teenager with disability can go through many social, psychological, physical, and emotional strains. These problems cause mental health problems. Physically they are dependent on caregivers for support. This results in great strain because they cannot gain independence like other teens.
Lack of self confidence
It is very likely that the mental health problems in disable teens arise due to lack of self confidence and self worth. If disable kids attain self confidence they retain their confidence throughout their youth and adulthood. So, development of self worth, confidence and self esteem highly depends on the childhood of a disable person. Many disable teenagers set high but realistic goals for themselves and they achieve these goals because of their better focus and confidence.
Another reason is off course bullying that can lead to severely negative outcomes. Bullying can range from minor teasing a disable teenager for his/her disability to major bullying that can make the teen feel insecure. Regardless of whether major or minor bullying, it can impact the teen physically, mentally, or emotionally. Studies show that it can make the teen feel isolated. While the bully becomes strong and takes benefit.
In teenage the biggest problem that can arise due to physical disability is maintain good friendship. As having a good and loyal friend can add to the happiness, satisfaction, and overall mental health of the teenager. It is very important for a teenager to have good companionship, someone on whom he/she can trust. On the other hand, not having a good friend can cause mental stress. Major bullying can have impact beyond the teenage.
Depression and anxiety are the most common outcomes of bullying and lack of self confidence in the disable teens. Most of them are introvert and cannot find an outlet to express themselves. At the same time anxiety is more dangerous for the teen because it is directly linked to low performance in schools. It can make the teenager lose self confidence. Anxiety also causes headaches and sleep issues. Obviously, with poor sleep the adolescent cannot perform well in the school.
Good physical and mental activities are necessary for the disable teenagers. As it gives the adolescent satisfaction and contentment in the life. Therefore, they should engage in a sports that they can find in their vicinity. For example, every sates in USA provide some options for adapted sports and leisure activities. These activities can add to overall well being of a teenager. Also it adds to the overall betterment of society.
Respect and care
Teenager with disability need equal respect and care from society. This can boost their self confidence and self perception. They need to have positive self views. In this way, we can prevent mental health problems to great extent. The family and the caregivers also need support to work well with the disable teens. We need an inclusive society that respect and care about every citizen.
- National Guideline Alliance (UK). Mental Health Problems in People with Learning Disabilities: Prevention, Assessment and Management. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (UK); 2016 Sep. (NICE Guideline, No. 54.) 2, Introduction. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK401811/
- Committee on the Biological and Psychosocial Effects of Peer Victimization: Lessons for Bullying Prevention; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Committee on Law and Justice; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Health and Medicine Division; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Rivara F, Le Menestrel S, editors. Preventing Bullying Through Science, Policy, and Practice. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2016 Sep 14. 4, Consequences of Bullying Behavior. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK390414/
- Maxey, M. & Beckert, T.E. Adolescent Res Rev (2017) 2: 59. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40894-016-0043-y