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The Impact of Injuries on Mental Health 

If you’ve suffered an injury, due to a road traffic accident, a slip trip or fall, or an accident at work for example, the primary focus will often be on ensuring you make a good recovery physically, but the impact that an injury can have on your mental wellbeing shouldn’t be overlooked. In a study published in the National Library of Medicine, which looked at the mental health of patients six months after injury, it was shown that those with physical injuries are at risk of mental health problems, with many experiencing anxiety, depression and PTSD.  

An injury can affect every aspect of your life and it’s clear that there is a significant connection between your physical and mental health. It’s this link that we’ll explore further in this article. 

How injuries can impact your mood  

Following an accident, it’s important to consider the psychological effects that your injuries can have. NHS advice states that common symptoms after a physical injury include depression, low mood, and anxiety, as our body and mind react to the physical trauma. If you’re struggling with your mental health after an injury, it’s important to ask for help, including seeking professional help if your symptoms are serious or prolonged.  

Factors contributing to depression after injury 

There are various factors that can contribute to someone experiencing low mood or mental health problems following an injury. Not only is there the possible trauma of the accident itself, but you may also have to deal with pain, reduced mobility, or loss of independence. Those who suffer serious injuries may have to adjust to living with a disability and everything this entails. Many people must take time off work after an injury, which itself can affect your mental health, but you may also be concerned about the financial implications of being off work and taking time to recover. That’s why it’s crucial that you seek support if you feel that your mental health has been affected by your injury and we’ll discuss some of the support available later in this article.  

It’s also important to seek legal advice if you’re considering making a claim for your injury. While the solicitors we work with primarily handle claims for physical injuries, a personal injury claim will often consider the psychological impact of your injuries as part of your claim. A personal injury solicitor can help you navigate the legal process and answer any questions you might have.  

Coping with changes to your daily life 

If you’ve been injured, you may find certain things more difficult now and it can be emotionally challenging to adjust to your new circumstances. It’s important to remember that support is available and that strategies can be put in place to help you during your recovery.  

Adjusting to physical limitations 

If an injury means you’re no longer able to do certain physical activities, it can be hard to accept, but working within your new physical limitations and focusing on achievable goals can help. 

Depending on your injuries, you may undergo a period of rehabilitation. Your rehabilitation programme may include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists, who can help you adjust to any physical limitations following your accident.  

Your rehabilitation team will work with you towards certain goals and can help you in regaining as much independence as possible. Psychological therapies may form part of your rehabilitation and can help you in coping with the effects of your injuries.  

Finding new ways to engage in hobbies and activities 

Keeping up with hobbies and activities can help maintain a sense of normality following an injury and it can help you emotionally to do activities that you previously enjoyed. 

If your injury makes it difficult to take part in your favourite hobbies, there may be alternative ways to participate in a pastime, or you may find new hobbies that you hadn’t previously considered. If you’ve suffered a serious injury, rehabilitation specialists, as well as charitable organisations such as Headway, Back Up Trust and the Spinal Injuries Association may be able to provide support in this area.  

The potential impact on your social life 

Healthtalk explain that for some, injury can lead to feelings of isolation and that sometimes, suffering an injury can make people reevaluate their social lives. However, it’s important to maintain connections and seek support where needed, as this can help, especially with the emotional aspects of recovery.  

Try to reach out to friends if you can. The Association for Applied Sports Psychology discuss the importance of a social support network following injury. They suggest asking friends and family to check in on you from time to time and they also highlight the importance of asking for help when you’re feeling down.  

Communicating with loved ones 

As well as seeking support from your social group, many people speak with family to help with the emotional impact of an injury. Try to be open when communicating with your loved ones and share with them any challenges you’re facing.  

Seeking support from others with similar experiences 

Some people find it helpful to talk to others who have been through a similar experience. Connecting to others who have shared your experience can provide a sense of community and shared understanding. Often, voluntary organisations will be able to put you in touch with relevant support groups or individuals who have faced similar challenges.  

Coping with depression after injury: tips for recovery 

If your mental health has been impacted by injury, there are a range of strategies and techniques that can help. He we explore some ways to promote mental wellbeing during the recovery process.  

Practising mindfulness and relaxation techniques 

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can be helpful in supporting your mental wellbeing. Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and noticing what is happening in your mind, body, or your surroundings. Benefits of mindfulness including feeling calmer, becoming more self-aware and having more control over how you respond to your thoughts.  

The mental health charity, Mind recommend a number of relaxation techniques, including body relaxation exercises, drawing calming circles, spending time in nature, and taking time to connect to your senses. It’s important to remember that while some of these techniques won’t work for every individual, there are plenty of different exercises and options to try.  

Engaging in physical activity and rehabilitation 

Engaging in physical activity can help boost your mood, so including exercise as part of your recovery where possible can be important in maintaining your mental wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation advise that even something as simple as 10 minutes of brisk walking “increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood.” 

After an injury, it’s important to ensure that any exercise you undertake is signed off by those treating you.  

Seeking professional help when needed 

The NHS advise that while it is normal to experience psychological symptoms after a physical trauma, if your symptoms are still present after 4 weeks, you should consider seeking professional help. You should make an appointment with a GP, who can give you advice and discuss possible treatment options. They may refer you to a mental health practitioner or they can give you details so you can self-refer for mental health services.  

If you have suicidal thoughts at any point, it is important that you tell someone. There are several helplines available, or you can use a text line if you don’t feel like speaking to someone on the phone. You could speak to someone you trust, seek an emergency GP appointment, call NHS 111 or contact your mental health crisis team. The NHS provide further help for suicidal thoughts here. Remember, you don’t need to struggle with these feelings alone and help is available.  

Taking care of your mental health alongside physical healing 

In this article we’ve looked at how being injured affects mental health and highlighted the importance of addressing your mental wellbeing alongside your physical recovery after an injury. We’ve provided information to help you navigate the psychological impact of a physical injury, including strategies and techniques for self-help and when to reach out for support from a professional.  

We understand the impact an injury can have, and our friendly team will always handle your claim with sensitivity. For no-obligation advice on making a compensation claim for your injuries, please get in touch on 0800 182 2186, or start your claim online.  

Information:

NHS 111 
Call 111 – 24 hours every day 

Samaritans – for everyone 
Call 116 123 
Email jo@samaritans.org 

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) 
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day 
Visit the webchat page 

Papyrus – prevention of young suicide HOPELINE247 
Call 0800 068 41 41 
Text 07860 039967 
Email pat@papyrus-uk.org 

SOS Silence of Suicide – for everyone 

Call 0808 115 1505 – 8pm to midnight Monday to Friday, 4pm to midnight Saturday and Sunday 
Email contact@sossilenceofsuicide.org 

Shout – for everyone 

Text “SHOUT” to 85258