Q&A with Ted Kennett: How can I maintain my mental health after a personal injury?

A physical injury can be devastating for anyone. Whether you’re off your feet for a few days or years, it is likely you will experience some measure of depression or other mental health injuries.

Following an injury, it can be easy to focus on your physical limitations. Your mental and emotional well-being is just as vital as tending to your physical state — research has proven that mental health disorders and traumatic injury are connected.  Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and PTSD cannot only manifest in behavioral and emotional symptoms but can also result in exacerbated physical pain.

Personal injury attorney Ted Kennett is here to answer some common questions on mental health and injury care.

What are some ways to keep up my mental health post-injury?

  • Make your physical health a priority. Don’t avoid doctor’s visits or dismiss any care that your health care provider recommends. If able, maintain some form of physical exercise, even if it is limited. Eat healthy food and get the appropriate amount of sleep. Try establishing a routine for all of these factors.
  • Explore ways to continue to engage in the activities you enjoyed prior to your injuries. You may need to adapt or alter your activities, but it can be helpful to your emotional and mental well-being if you can find ways to continue to participate in your hobbies and recreational activities. For example, if you love to exercise, you may find adaptive workouts helpful in maintaining a positive attitude.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Socialize with friends and family. If friends and family reach out post-injury, accepting their company will likely improve your mood and maintain the social connections needed to thrive.

What signs and symptoms of mental illness should I or a loved one be on the lookout for post-injury?

Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) do not manifest the same for everyone — people experience these conditions differently and exhibit different signs and symptoms.  Still, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has recognized a set of warning signs that might help you or a loved one determine if you need further help.

Warning signs of depression and anxiety include:

  • Low feelings and persistent sadness
  • Decreased interest in once-loved activities
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Agitation, nervousness
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Thoughts centered around suicide or death

Warning signs of PTSD include:

  • Re-living trauma in various troubling forms such as flashbacks
  • Avoidance of anything connected to the traumatic event
  • Extreme reactions to stimuli (jumpiness, anger)

Some of those symptoms sound familiar to me. What are my next steps?

Ask for help. Asking for help is a sign of strength – not weakness. It shows you have the strength to recognize what is going on and that you are brave enough to be honest. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has compiled a list of resources for mental health disorder treatment, including crisis hotlines such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (888-333-2377).

In less dire circumstances, therapy with a licensed counselor is one of the most popular treatments for mental health disorders. Sometimes, prescribed medications can help. It is important to talk to one’s doctors about the emotional and psychological realties one is experiencing so the doctor can decide whether medication is warranted. Others find that prayer, meditation and rest are an important part of healing one’s emotional and psychological state. Don’t ignore your feelings; it is critical to work through them in a productive way.

The road to recovery is not straight and smooth; it is a winding road, full of twists and turns.   KBG is here to support and guide our clients through the difficult process of dealing with the emotional and psychological injuries that are a part of any physical injury.  Mental health injuries should be taken seriously. We do all we can to ensure our clients understand their options and make well-informed choices about how to get the support and help necessary to heal well.

If you’ve been injured or experienced the death of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, contact KBG Injury Law. We’ll fight to get you the Results You Deserve®.