Written by Linda Calabria
More than 30% of amputees are affected by depression1, about 5x the national average, which often alternates with anxiety. Anxiety may be the fate of the limb that will be removed, as well as about the prospect of phantom limb pain.
Thankfully, the importance of mental health and wellness is a topic that has been growing in popularity. Burnout, depression, and stress around juggling work and life became a hot button topic for everyone. It’s been highlighted through revamped workplace wellness programs, touted by organizations large and small, and those suffering from mental health issues are feeling more comfortable sharing their experiences.
With all of this forward momentum, what was most eye opening was learning that the vast majority (74%) of amputees surveyed in our recent survey felt that the O&P industry could be doing more to support their emotional health. While organizations such as the Amputee Coalition and Limbs 4 Life have some resources, WebMD simply encourages you to reach out to a mental health professional.
While these are steps in the right direction, not enough open dialogue is taking place within the community.
Following our survey with Amplitude Magazine we connected with FocusCalm, an organization that has developed a brainwave sensing EEG headband and app, that helps its users manage their stress and anxiety through guided meditations and neuro games. Where FocusCalm differs from meditation apps is their headband gives visual feedback to the user to help them better understand if they are focused and calm or have an active brain, at that time.
Their studies show that using FocusCalm a few minutes a day for 3 weeks can improve a user’s sense of mental well-being by up to 21% and result in a 13% reduction in anxiety. Over time, users are able to better self-regulate and shift from reacting and instead respond in a calm manner.
Although meditation isn’t for everyone, it’s another practical approach to aiding an individual in their time of need, especially during the initial stages post amputation, which can be the most stressful. Relaxation, breathing, and mindfulness exercises are beneficial when experiencing increased stress, but if stress begins to disrupt one’s life, it is important to seek support from a qualified professional. The earlier the better as mental health issues such as depression are treatable.
We welcome you to check out FocusCalm in our store and learn more about the solution in a LinkedIn Live event taking place on May 20th or our communi-tee event on May 27th. A recording will follow for those that miss it.