Any physical illness is challenging, but brain and spinal cord injuries can fundamentally alter everything about your life. Not only do these injuries have the capacity to change how your body processes emotions, regulates thoughts, and manages pain; the stress of living with a serious illness—and the uncertainty about the future that often accompanies these illnesses—can wreak havoc on your mental health. Disability discrimination, difficulty securing employment, and financial distress all further complicate matters.
Sadly, our society continues to maintain a strict dichotomy between mental and physical health, instructing people that physical health problems warrant medical intervention, but mental health issues are shameful—and perhaps even the fault of the person who struggles with these issues. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mental and physical health are inextricably linked. Research has consistently demonstrated that mental health problems can slow the process of healing from physical injuries. There is no reason to suffer in silence or shame. Mental health care is an important part of the process of recovering from spinal cord and brain injuries.
Mental health professionals must be licensed by the state in which they practice. A person can't call herself a therapist just because she knows a lot about human psychology. Instead, the minimum requirement to provide mental health care in all states is a master's degree.
Beyond this minimal requirement, mental health practitioners come in three general varieties:
Some questions to consider asking a mental health provider include:
Spinal cord injuries are traumatic for patients and their families. They cause disruptive changes to every aspect of your life and there is a lot of new information to navigate and understand. Our experts have collected everything in one place to help you learn more about your injury, locate doctors and treatment centers, find financial support, and get assistance navigating your next move.