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People with Mental Health Disabilities

Did you know that one in five Canadians will experience a mental health disability at some point in their lives?

Mental health disability is a broad term for many disorders that can range in severity. A person with a mental health disability may experience depression or acute mood swings, anxiety due to phobias or panic disorder, or hallucinations. It may affect a person’s ability to think clearly, concentrate or remember things.

You may not know someone has this disability unless you are told. Stigma and lack of understanding are major barriers for people with mental health disabilities.


  • If you sense or know that a customer has a mental health disability, treat them with the same respect and consideration you have for everyone else.
  • Be confident, calm and reassuring.
  • Listen carefully, and work with the customer to meet their needs. For example, acknowledge that you have heard and understood what the person has said or asked.
  • Respect your customer’s personal space.
  • Limit distractions that could affect your customer’s ability to focus or concentrate. For example, loud noise, crowded areas and interruptions could cause stress.
  • Respond to the person’s immediate behaviour and needs. Don’t be confrontational. If needed, set limits with the person as you would others. For example, “If you scream, I will not be able to talk to you.”