Back to accessibility links

Emotional Wellbeing Toolkit: A Clinician's Guide to working with Spinal Cord Injury

There is a significant amount of trauma associated with acquiring a spinal cord injury (SCI), and many people will struggle to manage the grief for the loss of their previous way of life. Some will adapt more easily, while others will experience depression and other mental health issues. Most will need support to transition to an entirely new, different and sometimes challenging lifestyle.

To help address these challenges for spinal cord injury patients, their families and carers, the ACI State Spinal Cord Injury Service (SSCIS) has developed a toolkit to support clinicians in understanding and managing psychosocial issues associated with acute and long-term spinal cord injury. The Emotional Wellbeing Toolkit: A Clinician's Guide to working with Spinal Cord Injury initiative covers topics such as managing grief and trauma, common psychological and emotional issues experienced by people with a spinal cord injury, and ideas for handling challenging behaviours.

The toolkit highlights ways to distinguish between grief and depression and has a number of brief standardised tools to help clinicians assess issues such as mood, anxiety, pain, trauma, substance use and psychosis.

E-learning course

To help you learn to apply the toolkit, the SSCIS has developed a course of four e-learning modules.

Register on the ACI Moodle site to do the course.

The course is free and open to all health professional graduates, students and support staff working with people who have sustained a spinal cord injury or similar condition.

Additional resources

Brief Psychosocial Clinical Assessment Tool

Supplementary app for mobile devices

The Spinal Cord Injury Emotional Wellbeing Toolkit has a purpose built app for phone/tablet use, to assist clinicians with just in time evidence based support to help manage the emotional challenges associated with spinal cord injury.

iPad or iPhone

  1. Launch the “Safari” app. This does not work from the “Chrome” app.
  2. Visit
  3. Tap the icon at the bottom of the screen featuring a box with an arrow pointing up, along the bottom of the Safari window to open a menu.
  4. Tap Add to Home Screen. The Add to Home dialog box will appear, with the icon that will be used for this website on the left side of the dialog box.
  5. Enter the name for the shortcut using the on-screen keyboard and tap “Add.” Safari will close automatically and you will be taken to where the icon is located on your iPhone/iPad’s screen.


  1. Launch “Chrome” app.
  2. Visit
  3. Tap the menu icon (3 dots in upper right-hand corner) and tap Add to homescreen.
  4. Enter a name for the shortcut and then Chrome will add it to your home screen.


For more information, please contact the ACI State Spinal Cord Injury Service on phone: 02 9464 4666 or email:

Browse Resources