Improving the quality of life with educational and recreational opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

MSKTC Resource: Depression

As the weather turns colder and the days become shorter and shorter, we would like to spotlight a Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) Resource Factsheet about Depression.  Along with the factsheet, MSKTC has nine “quick reviews” all relating to depression and spinal cord injury.  

Depression affects about one in five individuals living with a spinal cord injury, compared to one in twenty Americans in the general population.  Estimated rates of depression among people with SCI range from 11% to 37%.

Depression is not just “feeling blue” or “down in the dumps”. It is a serious medical disorder (just like diabetes, in which both biology and behavior can help or hurt). Depression is closely linked to your thoughts, feelings, physical health, and daily activities.  

The good news is that the symptoms of depression can almost always be treated with specific types of counseling or antidepressant medications. However, a combination of both counseling and antidepressant medication has been shown to have the best results. Regular exercise or physical activity can also improve mood, especially when used together with counseling or medications.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with symptoms of depression, we highly recommend reaching out to your health care professional for support.  And, contact friends, family, and/or loved ones for additional help.  If you are in danger of harming yourself now, please call 911, the 24-hour National Crisis Hotline at 800-273-8255, or your local Crisis Clinic right away.  Remember, depression is not a necessary or an inevitable part of living with SCI. In fact, most people with SCI are not depressed. If you are struggling with depression or feeling low for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor. Depression is treatable and beatable.

For more information on depression and spinal cord injury, visit MSKTC at

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