Research has shown that there is a very clear connection between mental health and injury recovery, and in understanding this and talking about it more openly, patients can access the appropriate help that they need. Studies have also shown that the way in which health professionals talk about the link between the two can have a huge influence upon whether the patient fully appreciates that they may need to address both issues at once, and whether they go on to seek help.
There are thought to be four main strategies adopted by health professionals when discussing the connection between injury recovery and mental health with their patients, and understanding these can help you to better understand whether your state of mind needs some attention along with your physical injury:
Emphasizing the normality of the link
The fact that injuries are stressful — and can have a huge and often negative impact on our daily lives — is something we want everyone to understand as normal. You may need counseling to help you cope with, and alleviate your symptoms, and this option should always be offered to you.
Normalizing the impact an injury can have on an individual is vital if they are to feel able to seek further help.
Never underestimating the connection
Tension headaches clearly demonstrate the link between mental and physical health. When we are stressed, we often experience headaches, tension in our muscles, and may even have problems with our stomachs, so if recovering from an injury is painful and stressful (as they so often are), it’s surely no surprise to discover that we may experience mental health concerns.
Having a list of resources at the ready
Once the connection between recovering from an injury, and the impact it can have on your state of mind, has been fully explained to you, you can consider a range of resources to help you manage any mental health symptoms that you might already be experiencing, or are worried about going on to experience.
Having your stress levels assessed by your health professional each time you visit them for scheduled appointments (and whenever you feel it necessary to meet with them), is helpful, as you can gain a growing sense of how you’re doing at coping with life and continuing to function in a healthy manner.
If you’re recovering from an injury and are concerned that your mental health may be suffering, talk to a health professional about what help is out there for you, and most importantly, remember that this is a common issue and that you should never be ashamed or embarrassed to discuss it openly.
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