What Makes the Mentally Disordered Hard to Live?: Can Social Model of Disability Include Mental Disorders?

published: 2014-02-01Japanese

At a Meeting for Sharing Hardships in Participants' Lives Held by “Kokoro no Piazu”(Peers of Mind), a Self-Help Group

Mental disorders have been a candidate for treatment as illness and been discussed within a framework of recognition of a medical model for a long time. There is a view of the “social model of disability” in discourses of how disability should be defined. The social model aims at reframing how society views disability through the viewpoint that it criticizes suppressibility of the medical model and the way of society, not illness or impairment within disabled people, which flings disabled people into disability, makes disabled people hard to live. Although discussions over the social model are mainly formed via physical disabilities, mental disorders are also regarded that social change releases disordered people themselves. However, my experiences of living hard not totally based on the social aspects of mental disorders brought a feeling of strangeness to me against the assertion. Since I have had mental illness in my 20's, mental disorders have been the core of my identity. What I have experienced was difficulty in living as if it could threaten my existence. Therefore, my research topic is what mental disorders are and what can be released from them.

I think that in case of physical disorders what means by lack of psychical functions and body organization which is impairment is relatively clear and the measure for implementing the lack and breaking away from disability is clear to some extent. On the other hand, in case of mental disorders, the measure for resolving disability is not so clear. Is it possible for autistic people with mental disorders to go out with support of helpers? The existence of helpers may create fear and push people with mental disorders into much serious autism. Do they really want to go out? If so, it may be the result of delusion or obsession. Can the support for their going out caused by delusion or obsession lead to resolution of disability? I have a lot of questions to pose. Is it possible to state that mental disorders have been left between the medical model and the social model?

With the Person I Interviewed at the Local Activity Support Center He Attends

I think it is necessary to return to the starting point of what makes people with mental disorders hard to live in order to deal with this kind of issue. I try to reorganize what people with mental disorders define mental disorders through my interviews as a person with mental disorders who also has a difficulty in living. It is a different approach from psychiatry for treatment or the social model for social change.

The hypothesis I can present based on my own experiences is the cause of the difficulty in living for people with mental disorders is impairment or illness, not disability and there is no way of releasing their difficulty in living which is unique to mental disorders except for sharing by people with same experiences of the difficulty in living unless they can return to the medical model or anticipate social change. I think I would like to verify this hypothesis and establish a disorder model to fit mental disorders which replaces the social model of disability.


arsvi.com Global COE Program for Ars Vivendi

How to Use Our Libary

Center Reports

Ars Vivendi E-mail Magazine

Ars Vivendi Journal

Graduate School of Core Ethics & Frontier Sciences at Ritsumeikan University

Institute of Human Sciences at Ritsumeikan University


Bochum Center for Disability Studies (BODYS)

Facebook: Institute of Ars Vivendi. Ritsumeikan University