Learning from Others

The resources below provide an introduction to understanding how some disability conditions affecting mental health and wellness are the result of exposure to risk factors, trauma and toxic stress in the environment. You can also find resources in Stories, that share the knowledge from the interviews conducted with people living with disabilities in the communities today.

Definitions and Key Concepts

Risk and Resilience

Risk factors: Are negative experiences that deplete us. Risk factors can be stressful, painful, dangerous. They can also be ongoing over time or happen every once and a while.

Protective Factors: Are positive experiences that nourish us. Protective factors can be pleasant, exciting or spiritual. They can also be ongoing over time or happen every once and a while.

Resilience: Resilience is the ability to overcome obstacles and thrive in the face of difficulty or set-backs.

Traumatic Events

Canadian Association for Mental Health describes traumatic events as:

  • a recent, single traumatic event (e.g., car crash, violent assault)
  • a single traumatic event that occurred in the past (e.g., a sexual assault, the death of a spouse or child, an accident, living through a natural disaster or a war)
  • a long-term, chronic pattern (e.g., ongoing childhood neglect, sexual or physical abuse).

During traumatic events, a person perceives that they or someone who they love will be seriously injured or will die as a result of the event.


Toxic Stress

Toxic stress happens when a person is exposed to ongoing – stressors, multiple stressors, or traumatic events. This stress is toxic, as it causes damage to the body and mind.

Resilience: How does it Work

 Click to find out about what threatens resilience and how support professionals can help.

Trauma and Toxic Stress

Click for more about the impact that exposure to trauma and toxic stress can have on mental and physical health and well being.

Stories: Disability in the Communities

Click for more about what people with disabilities living in communities shared and wanted you to know. 

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Difference of Opinion

Emotionally Upsetting

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