One person with a spinal cord injury (SCI) talking to another person with a SCI is what we are most commonly referring to when we talk about peer support, or it could be a family member of a person with a SCI, speaking to another person’s family member.
We believe one person’s experience of SCI and everything that comes with the resulting change to their life can be invaluable when shared with another person going through the same, or similar, experience.
SPIRE Peer Support Service
Here at SPIRE we have a multi-award winning peer support team - paid staff as well as volunteers. They are all trained and experienced and each has their own lived experience of SCI. Whether it’s chatting about the emotional rollercoaster, getting some practical tips on transfers, or sharing about the more intimate things, we’re happy to connect you with someone that has faced similar challenges.
Scroll down to meet some of our peer support team and view short videos of their own stories with SCI.
Shared experience is invaluable
Learn tips & tricks - transfers, travel, carers, equipment...
Popular topics people find helpful in talking to others about include home modifications, daily living skills, family, relationships, fertility, health, returning to work/hobbies/driving, bladder and bowels.
We are involved with the Spinal Community Integration Service (SCIS) that has been set up to assist people with the transition from rehab to home. This has provided us with some valuable links to professionals in other areas such as OT's, physio, building and vocational consultants, and more.
Are you a family member of someone with SCI? We co-facilitate a Family Peer Support group with Independence Australia that meets every third Tuesday of the month at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in the Spinal Lounge.
If you live in regional Victoria, we also attend the Austin Hospital's Country Spinal Clinics in regional Victoria and regard this as a vital part of our Peer Support Service. Let us know if you want to connect with one of our Peer Support Workers at your next regional clinic. We are also currently setting up Regional Peer Support Networks for people living in regional Victoria.
Other peer support options
If you are looking for a more informal type of peer support you could join the Facebook group 'Spinal Injury VIC' where members share information, ask questions and join in on conversations.
Many people find that participating in a wheelchair sport is a great way to connect with people, with tips and tricks routinely shared in casual conversation before and after the game. You can find out more about wheelchair sports in Victoria on the Disability Sport & Recreation website.
People find that keeping in touch with those you went through rehab with – often develop into rewarding relationships through sharing the journey with one another and observing people’s progression.
Attend SPIRE events including courses, lunches, and talks; these are always attended by a variety of people with SCI and their family/friends.
"Seeing someone else like me getting in and out of their car was great." Peter