Self-esteem and identity
Feeling included is very important for everyone’s mental health and quality of life. Having a sense of identity and healthy self-esteem can be tricky for everyone. It can be especially difficult for people living with a disability. Some can feel that they are not included in some social groups or do not wish to be a part of a group where people identify as being ‘disabled’.
There are common times that people often feel their self-esteem or identity are challenged:
- Adolescence is a time of finding out who you are and how you fit in. Teenagers with a disability often find this time to be a struggle, more so than their peers.
- People with a mild or ‘hidden’ disability may also struggle, due to lack of understanding or being constantly compared to mainstream peers.
- People who receive a later or additional diagnosis can be confronted with having to form a ‘new’ or different sense of self and identity.
- People entering new relationships can be affected, as they work out how much of the caring role they want their romantic partner to be involved in.
What can be done to help self-esteem and identity?
By understanding that there are likely to be times when people’s self-esteem is going to be low can help people to be prepared, to cope and to seek support early.
Social workers and psychologists can provide support by sharing information, working with you to find strategies that work best for you and your family and provide referrals to other services.
Agencies you may be interested in:
Anglicare WA –offer counselling and support
Carers WA – online, phone and face-to-face counselling and support for carers of someone with a disability
Centre care –offer counselling and support (often subsidised costs)
Head space –offer counselling and support for 12 – 25 year olds; offers online counselling
Live Wire – online support and social network for young people with disabilities (funded by Starlight)
Vision counselling – psychology and counselling services
Youth Focus –offer counselling and support for 12 – 25 year olds
Youth Link –offer counselling and support for 12 – 25 year olds