We are going through challenging times, and for many people, especially those coping with limb loss and living with limb differences, managing their mental health can be difficult. Here at Amputee Store, we understand the importance of taking care of your mental health. Ensuring your emotional and mental wellness is just as vital as caring for your physical health.
This article breaks down three ways that can help you care for your mental health as you or a family member goes through the amputee journey.
However, if you, or someone you know, is in crisis, please call 911.
For non-urgent information and resources, please call the National Limb Loss Resource Center at 888-267-5669 and dial extension number 1. If you prefer to text, you can get in touch with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Text “NAMI” to 741741 for 24/7 confidential, free crisis counseling.
One of the best ways to ensure your emotional and mental wellness, no matter where you may be in your amputee journey, is by joining support groups. Amputee support groups are proven effective in providing a safe and supportive environment for persons living with limb difference or limb loss and their family members or caregivers. These groups allow individuals to connect with others who have gone through similar challenges.
You can choose a support group that gathers individuals with a shared interest. This can be a hobby like amputee hiking or adaptive cycling. There are also support groups that focus on limb awareness education. Medical practitioners often lead these groups.
You can ask your prosthetist for recommendations, or you may search online. The Amputee Coalition has more than 400 registered support groups across the country. They also offer virtual support group meetings via Zoom, perfect for those days when you prefer to stay at home. These meetings are open to people living with limb differences or coping with limb loss and family members.
Request a peer visit
Hospitals often arrange peer visits to help individuals coping with limb loss navigate their new experiences and emotions. Peer visits are helpful before and after amputation. However, they are also beneficial months or years after.
No one is in a better position to understand what it’s like to live life with limb loss or limb difference than someone who has gone through the same challenges. Peer visitors are excellent sources of encouragement and enlightenment for someone who had undergone an amputation, is scheduled for amputation, or is a spouse, parent, or caregiver of an individual coping with limb loss or limb difference.
If you’re unsure where to start looking for a peer visitor, begin by asking your prosthetist or healthcare team for recommendations. You may also request a visit from one of the Amputee Coalition’s Certified Peer Visitors.
Dealing with grief and depression
Handling grief and depression may require a different approach. We highly recommend trying psychotherapy or talk therapy, both of which are proven effective in dealing with depression.
When looking for a reputable therapist, you can start with your insurance company and their list of therapists in their network. You can also search in the Psychology Today directory for a list of mental health professionals.
The Bottom Line
The road to emotional recovery and wellness may be a long and winding one, but it’s worth embarking on the journey. There are numerous resources you can tap when you need help. And acknowledging the fact that you need help is crucial to prevent serious issues from developing.We’re rooting for you.