Mood is an important consequence of Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD). Learning to cope with unpredictable, frequent episodes of chronic pain and repeated hospital admissions, alongside the day to day management of a serious long term condition can be difficult. Making sure that you have access to the right support and health care is therefore crucial. Understanding the condition and how to manage both physically and mentally is important in maintaining the best health possible.
Stress is a common trigger for a Sickle Cell crisis, which makes taking care of mental health and trying to manage stressful study periods or a highly pressured working environment that much more important. The loss of education and employment due to ill health or hospitalisation however can be equally as stressful. In spite of this, both patients and caregivers often face great obstacles in finding psychological support for the condition.
Some resources that may be helpful in dealing with this include the following:
Organisations such as Samaritans are invaluable in providing confidential emotional support to anyone in emotional distress or struggling to cope. These are particularly valuable for patients who cannot easily leave home or hospital care, or those who would prefer to speak to someone anonymous and impartial.
Local or regional Sickle Cell support groups and associations can offer useful support and advice for those with SCD or their carers.
Conversations with family and friends can be difficult, but it is important that those around you are aware of how you are feeling and understand what they are able to do to help.
Speak to your doctor/medical consultant if you are consistently experiencing low moods, depression or anxiety as they may be able to help identify possible causes and make useful recommendations.