Spinal injury lawyers provide a variety of services to their clients, including managing legal and insurance matters and providing access to medical, rehabilitative, and continuing care. The aim of these services is to lighten the burden on the injury victim so they can focus on their long and sometimes painful recovery.
Unfortunately, these services rarely address clients’ mental health needs. A serious spinal injury can affect every aspect of a person’s life, from their ability to work to their personal relationships, and these changes often have devastating impacts on the victim’s emotional well-being.
According to the Regina Leader-Post, just 43 per cent of people living with spinal injuries have adequate access to emotional counseling, an issue that University of Regina post-doctoral research fellow Swati Mehta aims to improve.
Mehta has initiated a research project that offers internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy services to spinal injury victims. The eight-week course helps individuals manage their mental health and cope with new thoughts and behaviours associated with their injuries. It uses a series of vignettes and stories from spinal injury survivors to normalize the experiences and feelings the newly injured person might experience.
As Mehta told the Leader-Post, drastic physical changes in a person’s body can lead to severe emotional consequences.
“One might be body image because they’re in a wheelchair and they feel different,” Mehta said. “Having people stare at them, they might feel stigmatized. Others might be having bowel or bladder incontinence, so they fear having an accident when they’re in public. A lot of thoughts can come in and cause anxiety and depression and affect how they interact with people in their everyday lives.”
Mehta’s project is inspired by the work of Heather Hadjistavropoulos, also of the University of Regina, who founded an online therapy unit providing care for individuals grappling with post-partum depression, fibromyalgia, and cardiac issues, among other afflictions.
Physical and financial limitations often make mental and emotional counseling inaccessible for the clients of spinal injury lawyers. By providing therapeutic services through the internet, Mehta and Hadjistavropoulos are building a framework for access to care for some of Canada’s most vulnerable populations.
No amount of money can replace the lifestyle that a spinal injury victim has lost, but access to healthcare, counseling, and fair compensation improves that person’s chances of a full and successful recovery. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury, contact a Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers spinal injury lawyer today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team has been helping injured Ontarians access compensation and regain control of their lives for decades.
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