The 2020 theme ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’ focuses on spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions, among others.
According to the WHO World Report on Disability, 15 per cent of the world’s population, or more than 1 billion people, are living with disability. Of this number, it is estimated 450 million are living with a mental or neurological condition — and two-thirds of these people will not seek professional medical help, largely due to stigma, discrimination and neglect. Another 69 million individuals are estimated to sustain Traumatic Brain Injuries each year worldwide, while 1 in 160 children are identified as on the autism spectrum. These are just some examples of the millions of people currently living with a disability that is not immediately apparent.
This day serves as a reminder of the importance of removing barriers for all people living with disability, both visible and invisible. We also recognize that Persons with Disabilities may be having a harder time coping in the pandemic and CEIU Members across the nation are encouraged to take some time to check in with themselves, with family, friends and colleagues who might be living with a disability. Together we can make a real difference.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation, disconnect, disrupted routines and diminished services have greatly impacted the lives and mental well-being of people with disabilities in Canada and right around the world. Spreading awareness of invisible disabilities, as well as these potentially detrimental — and not always immediately apparent — impacts to mental health, is crucial as the world continues to fight against this virus.
CEIU HRRR Committee
Phillip Matheson, Male Rep for Persons with Disabilities
Genie McDougall, Female Rep for Persons with Disabilities