Mental Health and Chronic Pain


October is Mental Health Month – a month designated to raising awareness and understanding of mental health issues across the nation, and to promote mental wellbeing, coping strategies and recovery.

Population statistics indicate that 20% of Australians suffer from mental health disorders, and that anywhere from 20-80% of chronic pain patients also suffer from mental health disorders – particularly depression. For the chronic pain patient, managing or preventing the emergence of mental health issues is important for minimising the severity of pain and symptoms, optimising treatment responses, improving functionality and enhancing overall quality of life.

For this reason, Hunter Pain Clinic provides multidisciplinary pain management, involving a team of health professionals that work alongside our Pain Specialist Physicians under the one roof at Hunter Specialist Medical Centre. These include a psychiatrist, psychologists, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, occupational therapists, counsellors and a breathing therapist.

We aim to give our patients the best possible outcomes by diagnosing and treating all elements that may be contributing to you pain condition. In order to do this, we ask that prior to your appointment, you fill out some Psychometric Questionnaires, including a Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21).

A life with chronic pain is like a constant battle. Poor mental health makes the battle even tougher. We encourage chronic pain patients to not dismiss this limiting element to their battle. There is an immense amount of information and support at your fingertips.

Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute provide excellent resources and support services.

Talk to your doctor or specialist about accessing further help and improving your mental wellbeing.

References & Further Reading

  1. Effects of Chronic Pain. Australian Pain Management Association. Psychological
  2. Holmes A, Christelis N and Arnold C. Depression and Chronic Pain. The Medical Journal of Australia (Open). 2012;1(Suppl 4):17-20.
  3. Deardorff WW. 4 Tips to Help Cope With Chronic Pain and Depression. Spine-health. 2005 (2016).
  4. Knabel I. 7 Tips to Managing Depression and Pain. Queensland Mental Health.
  5. Tartakovsky M. Living with Chronic Pain and Depression. Psych Central. 2016.
  6. Image courtesy of yodiyim via

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