Disability mental health

People with a disability or chronic health issue

Living with a disability or long term or chronic health issue can severely affect our wellbeing.

About one in five of us live with disability. This is higher than the national average and may reflect the older profile of our population - as people grow older there is an increased tendency to develop conditions that cause disability.

During the State Government’s consultation to develop a strategy to improve the wellbeing of South Australians with disability, the universal theme was people with disability feel undervalued as citizens and experience social exclusion through unemployment or menial employment, stigma and discrimination.

For example, people with disability have lower employment and participation rates than people with no reported disability, 9.5% compared to 5.2% (2012 figures used). And just over half of South Australians with disability participate in the labour force compared to 83.2% of South Australians without disability. Unemployment and underemployment negatively impacts the  wellbeing of individuals and their families.

People with disability are also significantly less likely to participate in higher education. Research tells us that educational attainment is linked to employment and income, both of which impact wellbeing.

Parents of school-age children with disability have emphasised that educational settings with appropriate supports, education pathways and post-school options are critical to building the wellbeing and independence of their children and positive pathways for their futures.

The exclusion of Aboriginal people and migrants with disability can be exacerbated, particularly if they speak English as a second language or experience other language or cultural barriers.


Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2012, ABS catalogue 4430.0, 2011 

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