At The Princess Royal Spinal Injury Centre

It is natural and understandable to experience some distress during your rehabilitation journey.  In fact it is common to experience a wide range of emotions following a spinal cord injury.  We therefore believe supporting your psychological needs is an important part of your stay at the Centre.  For some people support from friends and family, as well as going though the rehabilitation process is enough, but many people benefit from further support.  There is therefore a Psychology service available for inpatients at the Centre.

Who are we?
We are a small team made up of a Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Psychologist. 

When do we meet with you?
A member of the Psychology team will visit you within the first few weeks of your stay; we visit all new inpatients on Osborn 1 and Osborn 3.  This will be an opportunity to talk about how you are doing and to speak about any concerns you may have.  This appointment will usually last about 1 hour.  We may ask you to fill in some questionnaires.  You have a choice as to whether you attend or decline an appointment with the Psychology service.

What happens next?
During your first appointment we will discuss with you whether it would be helpful to have any further sessions.  Sometimes people only see the Psychologist for one appointment, sometimes three to four times, or more.

We also recognise that other people close to you can affect how you are coping with your rehabilitation.  The Psychology service can also work together with your partner or any other close family member or friend. Family Support

What if I want to see the Psychologist later on in my stay?
Any member of the Spinal Injuries team can refer you to the Psychology service i.e. nurse, doctor, physiotherapist etc.,  Following a referral we would aim to arrange a convenient time to visit you on the ward within the next 7 days.

How can you contact us?
The Psychology service is based at the Spinal Injuries Centre; it is part of the Department of Psychological Services at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. 

You can contact us three days a week on: 0114 271 5644.

We are based at the Centre three days a week, at:
Psychological Services
The Princess Royal Spinal Injury Centre
Northern General Hospital
Herries Road
S5 7AU

Leaflets about the Psychology service are available on the ward or can be found online;
Psychology and Spinal Cord Injury leaflet
Psychological services for younger people leaflet


Frequently Asked Questions (about the Psychology service)

I'm not mad, why would I see a Clinical Psychologist?

Seeing a member of the Psychology service does not mean you are 'mad'.  Adjusting to a spinal injury and its treatments can be hard work.  You might feel upset, worried, angry or sad.  It is normal to feel a certain amount of upset or worry when living with a spinal injury, but sometimes it can feel too much to deal with.  The Psychologist is here to help you cope with the stresses of adjusting to and living with a spinal injury.  That is why they are part of the Spinal Injuries team.

How can a Clinical Psychologist help you?

Clinical Psychologists offer help with:

  • Adjusting to the reality of having a spinal injury
  • Coping with the rollercoaster of rehabilitation
  • Getting on with life following the injury

Specific difficulties such as:

  • Management of pain and spasms
  • Coping with different emotions
  • Concerns about memory and changes to thinking
  • Distress and trauma following an accident
  • Concerns about relationships and the future

A Clinical Psychologist is trained to help you to:

  • Explore your feelings
  • Understand how difficulties may develop
  • Try different ways of coping
  • Do I have to talk about everything?

No, you do not have to talk about everything, but it helps if you can be open and honest.  We appreciate that it can take time to build enough trust to 'open up'.  There may be some things that you feel uncomfortable talking about and this will be respected.

What is the difference between Psychology and Psychiatry?

Clinical Psychologists use a range of talking therapies and may suggest practical ideas you can try to see if they help.  They do not prescribe medication.  Psychiatrists are trained as medical doctors specialising in mental health and can prescribe medication.  It may be helpful for some individuals to see both services during their stay.

For further information about the Psychiatry service available at the Northern General Hospital

What if I need to be seen urgently?

The Psychology service is not an 'emergency' service.  If you are really struggling please talk to a member of the Spinal Injuries team who can help arrange support for you.

What if I agree to an appointment and then change my mind?

If you no longer want to be seen then please let your Clinical Psychologist or another member of the Spinal Injuries team know so they can offer that appointment to someone else.  This will not affect the care and treatment you are receiving from the rest of the team.

What about confidentiality?

Our service is confidential.  However, we work as part of the Spinal Injuries team and it is often helpful for information to be shared with the team, with your agreement.  You might not want some information to be shared and the Clinical Psychologist will discuss this with you.  We must share information if we are concerned that there is a risk to you or others.

What if I have any concerns about the Psychology service?

You can contact the Service Manager at;

Psychological Services
Room G04
3rd Floor Nurses Home
Northern General Hospital
Herries Road
S5 7AU
Tel: 0114 271 5644

Other Useful Information (whilst at the Centre)

What if I want to talk with other people who have sustained a spinal injury?


What if I am struggling to manage difficult memories of what happened to me?


What if I want to learn some coping strategies on my own?


A subscription-based mindfulness app.


A broad variety of interactive tools, including mindfulness mediations, breathing and relaxation exercises, review pages, anger management strategies etc.,

Catch It

Learn how to manage feelings like anxiety and depression. . The app will teach you how to look at problems in a different way, turn negative thoughts into positive ones and improve your mental wellbeing.

Feeling Good

Relax your body and mind with a series of audio tracks designed to help you build confidence, energy and a positive mindset.

Stress & Anxiety Companion

Helps you handle stress and anxiety on-the-go. Using breathing exercises, relaxing music and games designed to calm the mind, the app helps you change negative thoughts to help you better cope with life's ups and downs


You could also book a session in the Rivelin Relaxation Room on Osborn 2

What if I am struggling to manage pain?

Back Up Trust Pain Management

What if I have also sustained a head injury?

Headway website;

Mental Health Support (Outside of Hospital)

What to do if you are concerned about how you have been feeling?

Speak to your GP if you are concerned about how you have been feeling.  Your GP will be able to discuss the support available to you in your local area.  This will include counselling and talking therapies, these services are called IAPT services (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) and are available throughout the UK.  Many IAPT services accept self-referrals.

To find your local service:

For individuals in the Sheffield area, please see

What other organisations might be able to help?

  • NHS 111 can offer advice and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • The Samaritans if you need to talk to someone confidentially. They can be reached on 0114 276 7277 or 116 123 available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • MIND provides information on a range of topics, including types of mental health problems, where to get help, medication and alternative treatments, and advocacy.  Lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays): 0300 123 3393 or Text: 86463.
  • The CALM service run by the Department of Health has a free, confidential helpline that runs from 5pm to midnight, Saturday to Tuesday. Call Freephone 0800 58 58 58. CALM is targeted at young men aged between 15 and 35, suffering distress due to mental health difficulties and/or drug dependency, but the helpline is open to anybody and calls will not show up on landline telephone bills.
  • Papyrus HOPEline is a confidential and free service for young people (under 35) struggling with thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Call Freephone: 0800 068 4141 or Text: 07786 209697.

Family Support

What support is available for family and friends?

We recognise that other people close to you are also affected by your spinal injury.  The Psychology service can sometimes offer sessions to family members.  We can also advise family members of how to access further support via their GP or one of the spinal injury charities.

[insert link to SIA and Back Up pages on family support]

What information is there for parents; how do you explain what has happened to your children?

There are a number of resources available from Spinal Injury organisations that may be helpful;

Talking to your children about Spinal Injury: A Practical Guide for Families

Children’s story titled Dad had a Spinal Cord Injury, What Happened Next

We would also recommend you explore the support available for families via the Spinal Injuries Association and the Back Up Trust

Other children’s books that normalise disability and wheelchair use;

Mama zooms                           by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
Boots for a bridesmaid         by Verna Allette Wilkins
Are we there yet?                  by Verna Allette Wilkins
Katy                                            by Jacqueline Wilson

There are copies of these books at the Centre; many of them are available online for a small cost.