Addressing Mental Health and Accessing Resources

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on November 29, 2021 # Health

A woman using a wheelchair staring at the stairs in front of herThe Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation strives to ensure that everyone has access to resources that can provide them with better care, quality of life, and independence. However, it is not just our physical bodies that need to be cared for, but our mental health as well.

The issue of mental health is so relevant in society today. Anxiety and depression touches everyone in America, either directly or through the experiences of loved ones. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 34% of Americans suffer from some form of depression or anxiety. A recent CDC study found that adults with a disability are almost 5 times more likely to have frequent mental distress. In addition, those who belong to two or more races report having a serious mental illness at a rate of 7.5%. Native American and Native Alaskan populations follow that, with 4.9% reporting a serious mental illness, Hispanic populations report serious mental illness with 3.9% of their population, and Black populations report serious mental illnesses with 3.1% of their communities. These figures show the relevancy of mental health issues within these specific communities, and throughout society. Having access to mental health resources can make all the difference in the world when maintaining your mental health and seeking help.

However, accessing mental health services can be challenging. Insurance, financial freedom, lack of information and social stigmas can be obstacles for individuals seeking mental health assistance. For minority groups, accessing mental health facilities can be even more challenging, with many communities lacking the information to access the necessary resources. According to McGuire and Miranda’s “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health Care: Evidence and Policy Implications,” they state that “racial and ethnic minorities have less access to mental health services than do whites, are less likely to receive needed care and are more likely to receive poor quality care when treated.” The Reeve Foundation is working to remove those barriers to mental health to help reduce stigmas, and improve access to resources that can help.

Our Peer & Family Support Program is one of our great resources that can improve your mental health through practical guidance that our peer mentors can provide. Through our program, we are able to match people with similar injury levels and life experiences. The mentors can provide insight into the everyday challenges to you or your loved ones.

Our Virtual Support Groups are another resource providing the opportunity for members to connect with others who understand what they are going through and to gain support, insight and guidance. Group meetings are led by two facilitators: a mental health professional and a peer with lived experience. Each meeting begins with a discussion of topics related to living with paralysis or caregiving, followed by an open forum conversation among group members.

For additional resources on mental health, check out the resources below:

Cultivating Resilience after Spinal Cord Injuries video series gives us an in-depth look at the personal and emotional challenges faced at different phases of injury, as well as the advice of counselors from the Shepherd Center.

Living Well with Dr. John monthly webinars are presented by Dr. John, a practicing psychologist with paralysis who offers a unique and insightful perspective on life with paralysis.

Mindfulness fact sheet, which touches on practices to help clear and calm your mind.

Women’s Mental Health after Paralysis booklet serves as a guide by offering insight on the importance of having good mental health and how it impacts one’s emotional and physical state, as well as resources to help women living with paralysis along in their journey.

All of these resources are here to assist you and help you to be as healthy and independent as possible. We hope you will use them whenever you feel you need a little support.

Written by Kyle Marrs, Community Outreach Associate. To learn more about the free programs and services that the National Paralysis Resource Center offers, please contact Kyle at [email protected] for a presentation.


American Psychological Association. (n.d.). What providers should know: Mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. American Psychological Association. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, November 30). The Mental Health of people with disabilities. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from,for%20at%20least%2014%20days%20in%20a%20month.

Facts & Statistics: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2021, from

McGuire, Thomas G, and Jeanne Miranda. “New evidence regarding racial and ethnic disparities in mental health: policy implications.” Health affairs (Project Hope) vol. 27,2 (2008): 393-403. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.27.2.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.