Disability Issues

PsySRDisability issues represent one of the most urgent human rights concerns of our time. There are currently about 600 million people with disabilities on the globe, with a disproportionate number of these people living in poverty and in developing regions. Unlike many other minority conditions such as ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation, disability constitutes an experience that any individual can begin having at any point in life, though it is an experience that is statistically more likely as one gets older. In fact, people with disabilities will be one of the most rapidly growing minority groups on the planet in the coming decades as the global population ages. The growth of disability as a human rights issue, therefore, stands to benefit every citizen of every nation.

A PsySR Member Perspective: Daniel Holland on Disability and Human Rights

With a few exceptions, psychologists have not been highly visible on the forefront of this human rights movement. There are likely a number of reasons for this. Psychologists (particularly clinical and counseling psychologists) are often educated and trained within a clinical and pathology-oriented paradigm. Such clinical perspectives on disability often place the burden of improvement on the individual: the person with the disability is expected to work to transcend the condition in order to rejoin the non-disabled majority. The mythic narrative accompanying such perspectives involves the determined and stoic person with a disability who, through force of will and effort, learns to walk again, or returns from the presumed abyss of mental illness, or recovers from a brain injury, leaving the uncomely sidelines of “the disabled” to mix with “the normal people” in the main. Read More »

Links and Resources to Learn More and Take Action

ADAPT is a grassroots movement that focuses on promoting services in the community instead of warehousing people with disabilities in institutions and nursing homes.

Mental Disability Advocacy Center
MDAC advances the human rights of children and adults with actual or perceived intellectual or psycho-social disabilities. Focusing on Europe and Central Asia, it uses a combination of law and advocacy to promote equality and social integration.

Mental Disability Rights International
Based in Washington, DC, MDRI is dedicated to promoting the human rights and full participation in society of people with mental disabilities worldwide.

Ragged Edge Online
Ragged Edge Online is the leading magazine for the disability rights movement in the U.S.

Rainbow Heights Club
Rainbow Heights Club, located in Brooklyn, New York, is an advocacy program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers requiring mental health services./p>

World Institute for Disability
The World Institute on Disability is an internationally recognized public policy center organized by and for people with disabilities. It works to strengthen the disability movement through research, training, advocacy and public education.