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Inform issue 24 – Autumn 2018

  • Text
  • Survivors
  • Rehabilitation
  • Continence
  • Chronic
  • Autumn
  • Ndis
  • Inform
  • Disability
  • Australia
  • Polio
In this issue of Inform, we celebrate achievements. We follow Independence Australia's residential client Peter as he looks back on some of the adventures he has had along the way of 50 years as a wheelchair user.

Mental Health Staying

Mental Health Staying mentally healthy when you have a chronic health condition Many of the clients and members of Independence Australia are living with a chronic health condition, and with good support and effective treatment many of them stay well psychologically. Despite this, research from SANE Australia has shown that 50% of Australians living with a chronic health condition experience depression or anxiety at some point. This is twice the rate of the general population and not particularly surprising, given that physical health and mental health are linked. When someone’s physical health is affected by illness or disability, their mental health is more vulnerable. For people living with a chronic physical illness, both the condition and side effects from treatment can affect the way they think and feel. Illness may have affected their mobility and independence and changed the way they live, see themselves, and relate to others. They may at times feel hopeless about the future and think they don’t want to burden those close to them with their feelings. The emotional impact of an illness for example feeling sad, frightened, worried or angry can be overwhelming. In addition, there are times which are particularly challenging for people with a chronic illness, times when they are most likely to become anxious and/or depressed. These include: • when they are first told about a chronic condition • before and after major surgery • if there are unpleasant side effects to treatment • if the condition returns after a period of recovery • if the illness stops responding to treatment Getting treatment for mental illness is particularly valuable for someone who has a chronic physical condition. Treatment for depression, for example, can also improve their underlying chronic health condition. Independence Australia’s psychology service offers disability-specific mental health support. Seek advice and support by calling us directly at the psychology service on 1300 788 855 or emailing psychology@iagroup.org.au Dr Andrew Sinclair Independence Australia Psychology Service 16 Independence Australia

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