Invisible Disabilities: Stigma and Belonging

This researcher sought to understand the struggles associated with invisible disabilities. Invisible Disabilities are just that, invisible, or unseen by the naked eye. Often, invisible disabilities have negative effects on a person’s self-worth and sense of belonging. There is also a stigma associated with a disabled person when one visibly cannot see the disability. The assumption often is if one cannot see it, the suffering must not be that bad. Along with the doubts of the public, internal struggles deepen for the invisibly-disabled person. Mental health professionals must learn how to deal with a client’s self-doubt, depression and feelings of inferiority to name a few. The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) has made strides in acknowledging invisible disabilities. However, positive strides can still be made by the public and helping profession to better serve people with invisible disabilities.

Megan E. Shaw
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