When Disability Prevents Access to Healthcare and How You Can Help

Healthcare is a global catastrophe for those most in need. Obtaining medical services is a privilege reserved for the able in many cases. Our family has personal experience with the struggle that can be involved in getting to the doctor or service. It is only recently we have begun to receive in-home service for autism. I wish everyone could have access to this type of care. It is transforming our family because it is by nature more wholistic, but mostly due to the dramatically decreased frequency of missed appointments due to meltdown or other barrier. The takeaway is we now have regular care when we never could before because they are meeting our family in a place we are able to meet.

Read Charlotte’s experience in trying to acquire access to proper medical care.

This is not happening for several people I know. I have shared Karrie Higgins’ ongoing battle with Anthem for coverage of her life-saving medications on Twitter.

I have also shared a portion of Charlotte Farhan’s story.


Charlotte, like Karrie, is a woman close to my heart. She is an advocate and ally fighting daily to destigmatize mental health conditions and sexual assault through her art and the nonprofit, Art Saves Lives International. She does this for everyone even as she is struggling to stay alive. Because she has no care. Her pleas have not been heard or realized, and she is in a daily battle for her continued existence.

Read Charlotte’s open letter “To the Mental Health Services England” here.

What can we do?

We can do so much more than look away. In Charlotte’s above letter, she lays out several simple actions you can take right now to support her in gaining access to the medical care she needs. I urge you to take those actions. Know that in doing so you affirm her right to live.

In fact, I am going to share those actions here so you don’t miss them. Charlotte says:


  • I need the Solent NHS Trust to help me so I can have the same human rights to care as others. So here is what I need – send them this open letter:
  • Or email them: communications@solent.nhs.uk
  • Someone will be creating a petition for me too, so I shall add this to the post when it is up and running.
  • I am also writing an official complaint to the NHS.

I encourage you to challenge yourself by stepping up. Get to know these women through their art and you will learn about the limitations of disability beyond the body and mind. Those limitations may be coming from or supported by you due to a lack of awareness. Let’s change that and work together. Both abled and disabled deserver equal opportunity to survive their story.

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

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