At a glance

“Psychosocial disability is a term used to describe a disability that may arise from a mental health issue.” (NDIS)

Psychosocial disability is not about a diagnosis, it is about the functional impact and barriers which may be faced by someone living with a mental health condition. A psychosocial disability arises when someone with a mental health condition interacts with a social environment that presents barriers to their equality with others.

Psychosocial disability may restrict a person’s ability to:

  • be in certain types of environments
  • concentrate
  • have enough stamina to complete tasks
  • cope with time pressures and multiple tasks
  • interact with others
  • understand constructive feedback
  • manage stress.

Someone with a psychosocial disability may require support to overcome the barriers to social inclusion they face.

Past experiences of trauma are common for people with psychosocial disability. It is important to be sensitive to the possible impacts of trauma, which may be lifelong, when providing support. 

A lot of people with lived experience object to the use of the term ‘disability’ to describe their experience, … [Support workers should be] clear the word disability is being used to describe life barriers rather than the person.

- A person with lived experience of a mental health condition


Mental Health Recovery, Psychosocial Disability and the NDIS
This web page provides an introduction to mental health recovery, psychosocial disability and eligibility for the NDIS.
 Type: Web page
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Produced by: Mental Health Coordinating Council

What does psychosocial disability mean to you?
This video provides personal experience and understanding of what it is to have a psychosocial disability.
Type: Video | Closed captions
Viewing time : 2:28 minutes
Produced by: Mental Health Coordinating Council

Exploring how you feel about the term psychosocial disability
This interactive quiz enables you to explore what psychosocial disability means to you and how it might feel for someone who is living with a psychosocial disability.
Type: Interactive quiz
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Produced by: Mental Health Coordinating Council

Current as at: Monday 6 February 2023
Contact page owner: Mental Health