62 chapter 3: Mental health
In a helping relationship, 2 or more people make a
commitment to get to know, understand, and help
Helping relationships can help you get support,
recognize feelings, and control impulsive reactions.
A helping relationship can be formed among
friends, family members, a group of women with
disabilities, a group of women who work together,
or a group that already meets for another purpose.
Be careful when choosing helping relationships.
Form relationships only with people who will respect your feelings and your
privacy. For information about forming support groups, see pages 65 and 66.
Learn to value
When a woman
grows up with the
support of her
family, school and
to live the
best life she
can, her feelings
of self-worth will
be very high,
whether or not she
has a disability. But if a woman grows
up feeling she is worth less than others
because she has a disability, she has to
learn to value herself.
When you think well of yourself, you can hold your
head high and feel proud of yourself and what you
can do. You have the courage to try new things
and the power to believe in yourself. You respect
yourself, even when you make mistakes. And when
you respect yourself, other people usually respect
When you know you’re important, you make
good decisions about your life. You value
your safety, your feelings, your health—your
whole self! Good self-esteem helps you know
that every part of you is worth caring for and
One of the most important parts of mental health is self-esteem. You have good self-
esteem when you know you are worthy of being treated with respect. You know people
listen to you and value your opinions. You feel capable of facing difficulties and challenges.
Girls and women who are treated with respect by their families, schools,
and communities develop good self-esteem. The more support families and
communities can give you to live the best life you can, the more self-worth you
will feel. Other things that help you have good self-esteem are meaningful work,
economic security, loving relationships, and safety from physical or sexual abuse.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007