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Looking after your mental health

There's no need to feel alone

Having a spinal cord injury is a sudden and devastating change. You may find it hard to take in what has happened and understand what you’re being told by health professionals. Adjusting to your new life can feel daunting and overwhelming. 

There’s no set rule about how you should respond. If you’re feeling depressed, you’re not alone. There is support available.

Talk about your feelings

Coming to terms with your spinal injury can take time. There’s a lot to get your head around, from managing your bowel routine to losing your sense of purpose. You may find yourself feeling depressed. It’s when you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days. 

This is a natural and understandable response to what has happened to you. Feeling some depression is a part of the grieving you will go through  as you process the loss of your ability to do many of the things you used to. 

It can be easy to lose hope and become despondent. If you find you feel depressed for a long time, or that you feel worse, do seek help. Talk to your GP about treatment options which include medication, lifestyle changes and talking therapy. 

It can be helpful to try and talk about how you’re feeling.

Look after your mental health

It’s important to listen to the advice given by health professionals about how to manage your injury. This will make things easier and help you feel more positive about the future. Establishing a bowel and bladder routine will make you feel more confident to go out.

You’re not alone in how you’re feeling. Speaking to somebody who has gone through the same thing and can share similar experiences can help

Ian Younghusband, our counselling and wellbeing manager

A balanced lifestyle is also important. A spinal cord injury doesn’t have to stop you from being active. Getting plenty of exercise and eating well will support your mental health.

in 10

Between two and three in 10 people with spinal cord injuries show significant signs of depression, according to the World Health Organisation

More information

Find out more about how to look after your mental health – click on the link on the right hand of the page to download our fact sheet.

If you are feeling suicidal, you can talk to someone at the Samaritans by calling 116 123 or emailing [email protected]

If you have seriously harmed yourself or feel that you may be about to harm yourself, call 999 for an ambulance or go to your local accident and emergency department.

Use the NHS self-assessment tool to assess if you are experiencing depression now

Find out more about coping with a spinal cord injury

Need support?

We know that a spinal injury can affect your mental health. If you’re feeling low, and want to talk to someone, contact your local support coordinator.  They offer support and guidance and can also refer you onto our counselling service.

Please quote COUNSELLING in any communications you send to your support coordinator.  

find your local support coordinator