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Chronic Conditions Course for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury

The Chronic Conditions Course for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) aims to provide education and guidance on simple but effective cognitive behavioural techniques for managing symptoms often experienced by those with SCI. Very broadly, the course helps people with thoughts, behaviours, and physical symptoms related to chronic health conditions, depression, and anxiety. We are comparing this Course with a second course that provides education on spinal cord injury, mental health, and pain. Research shows that these programs can help people gain control over their symptoms, improve their confidence, and get back to living a full, satisfying life.


How was The Chronic Conditions Course for persons with SCI developed?

The Chronic Conditions Course was originally developed in Australia by the eCentreClinic for Emotional Health. It is was adapted for persons with SCI through a collaboration of the Online Therapy Unit and Dr. Swati Mehta at Lawson Health Research Institute. It is designed to teach people who have a chronic physical condition how to better manage symptoms associated with the condition, depression, and anxiety.

How was the Psychoeducation SCI Rehabilitation Course developed?

The Psychoeducation SCI Rehabilitation Course was developed by the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Evidence project (SCIRE) community group in collaboration with Dr. Swati Mehta at Lawson Health Research Institute. It is designed to provide education on spinal cord injury rehabilitation evidence-based practices.

Why are we offering these courses?

These courses were designed because so many people never seek treatment, but many have access to the Internet. Because sustaining a spinal cord injury can often be connected with symptoms of depression and anxiety it was felt to be important to provide information that could be used to manage these symptoms.

What's involved in the courses?

Participants interested in the courses can apply online by completing the online screen. Once the screen is completed, a telephone interview will be set up with the research staff to discuss your concerns and ensure the courses will be suitable for you. Among the participants found to be suitable, half will be begin the Chronic Conditions Course for persons with SCI while the other half will receive Psychoeducation SCI Rehabilitation Course. 

The Chronic Conditions Course for persons with SCI is comprised of 5 lessons. Depending on the complexity of the lesson, it is recommended that clients spend 1 to 2 weeks on a given lesson. Lessons consist of educational materials that are accessed online, and “Do it Yourself” (DIY) activities and resources that are reviewed offline, as well as additional resources for common concerns. With the suggested time frame, clients should complete The Chronic Conditions Course in 8 to 10 weeks.

The Psychoeducation SCI Rehabilitation Course for those with SCI consists of 5 education lessons which provide background on how a spinal cord injury can occur and the potential areas affected. The course also provides an overview of the different mental health and pain concerns experienced by persons with SCI, along with common interventions for symptom management. Participants will have 1 to 2 weeks to learn each lesson. The Psychoeducation SCI Rehabilitation Course should take 8 to 10 weeks to complete. 

How will my courses be monitored?

Participants will complete questionnaires prior to the start of the program, before each lesson of the program, once they have completed the program, and 3 months after completing the program. The questionnaires will assess the impact of the SCI as well as anxiety and depression symptoms.

Who can take part in the research?

The research is open to all Canadian residents and is designed for those who have symptoms of depression or anxiety, have sustained an SCI for more than 3 months, have received a diagnosis for their condition, are 18 years of age or older, are comfortable using and have access to the Internet, and have a local medical contact available in case of emergencies. The research is not recommended if you have severe problems with alcohol or drugs, mania, psychosis, or strong thoughts of suicide.

Who can answer my questions about the research?

If you have any questions about the research, please feel free to email the researcher Dr. Swati Mehta for more information:

How do I sign up?

If you are interested in participating in the research study, please register below and follow the instructions.