Understand the importance of promoting positive health and wellbeing for an individual who may have a mental health condition, dementia or learning disability

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

The medical model of disability is seen to be a negative view as it focuses on a disabled individuals impairments and looks to find treatments or cures to help an individual fit in with a society that is catered for individuals without disability.

Conversely, the social model of disability views society as the barrier to individuals with disabilities and examines ways for society to remove the barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities from having equal life choices.

For example, if an individual has restricted mobility and uses a wheelchair they may have difficulty getting the wheelchair out of the car when they do their shopping. The medical model would look at ways to treat or cure the individual of their disability whilst the social model would look at creating extra-wide parking spaces at the supermarket.

The social model underpins positive attitudes towards disability because it works at removing the barriers that can limit and individual from making equal life choices and looks at what an individual’s abilities are rather than their disabilities.

The social model promotes person-centred practice (or involving people in their own care) by adapting an individual’s environment so that they can live as independently as possible rather than expecting the individual themselves to change.

When working with individuals with mental health conditions, dementia and learning disabilities, we should always have a positive attitude as this will improve the care and support that we provide.

Examples of being positive may include:

  • building on the skills of the individual
  • reducing the stigma of the conditions by ensuring individuals are not isolated in social situations
  • helping others to understand the challenges of the conditions
  • promoting independence
  • empowering individuals to be as independent as possible
  • helping individuals identify and pursue opportunities
  • providing encouragement and motivation

By being positive about an individual’s abilities rather than their disabilities, you can prevent them from becoming isolated, help them to to take an active role in their care and support and increase their confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing.