Sustaining a life altering injury comes with challenges most people never imagine being presented with. The journey is long and tumultuous, whether you’re recovering from an incomplete injury or learning to adapt to a complete one. Fortunately, people with spinal cord injuries aren’t alone; we have each other.
Multiple support groups providing myriad resources exist for people with SCI. Participating in these groups can offer solidarity and support we need. Sharing resources, discussing benefits, and exchanging advice about care and health affords SCI survivors the opportunity to connect and recover together.
As much as your family and friends may try to understand and offer empathy, only an individual who has sustained an SCI can really comprehend the many complications of your journey.
Peer support can normalize your experience with your care, your body and your drastically altered life. Connecting with families struggling through the same issues can be healing as well as helpful.
Often people who have been navigating the SCI world longer can provide advice and hacks to make life much easier for newly injured people with SCI in their circle.
Look for a local support group for spinal cord injury. You might ask at the facility where you attended rehab.
Many virtual groups offer solidarity and support. Look for one with active membership so you’ll have multiple people to connect with.
The nonprofit Determined2Heal was founded by a quadriplegic. They run a learning forum known as SPINALpedia and offer individual peer mentoring in areas like navigation of government benefits and transferring to independent living.
The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation offers in-person, phone, and peer support on their Hey Peers! virtual platform. Each support group is led by a mental health professional and an SCI survivor.
Check out United Spinal’s affiliated support groups. The list is always growing so they encourage you to check back. Some rehab centers like Shepherd Center also offer sessions you can sit in on virtually.
Social media offers multiple interactive groups for people with SCI. Check out Spinal Cord Injury USA Group or Spinal Cord Peer Support Worldwide. Sharing resources, ideas and solidarity can be a game changer when you feel lost and alone post SCI, and throughout the journey ahead.