June 2022 – Shine a Light on Brain Injury
Brain injury happens in an instant. It does not discriminate, nor does it only impact one person. Brain injury changes the lives of people of all ages, genders and ethnicities, leaving little time to adapt. This disability lasts a lifetime and often leaves many with feelings of grief, loneliness, anxiety, depression, and an inability to cope. The Ontario Brain Injury Association is committed to serving all Ontarians, driving change and increasing accessibility by reducing barriers for vulnerable and marginalized people across the province.
For decades, OBIA has been devoted to raising awareness about brain injury and making the invisible visible. This year, a partnership was developed among brain injury associations across Canada to develop a national campaign with the theme – Shine a Light on Brain Injury.
OBIA is participating in Shine a Light on Brain Injury, a national campaign designed to show Canadians the prevalence of brain injury. This year, we are highlighting how mental health is affected by brain injury and how traditional supports aren’t always accessible to the brain injury community. As a country, we need to recognize the inequitable treatment of those with disabilities (particularly invisible ones) and work to make sure that individuals with brain injury have access to mental health supports.
The past two years have been a dark period for many due to the debilitating impacts of COVID-19. Community programs and social activities that provided support and social interaction were drastically restricted due to public health concerns, increasing isolation and mental health issues.
However, even during these dark days we found hope. Now more than ever before, Ontarians can empathize with the isolation and fear individuals with a brain injury experience every day of their lives. This new understanding and empathy offer a unique platform to raise awareness about brain injury and its impacts on more than 500,000 Ontarians.
Throughout the pandemic, organizations across the country showed immense resilience as they adapted to support their clients by providing virtual programs. OBIA was no different and guided the way by quickly transitioning all in-person programs to a virtual platform. OBIA also sought out unique ways to continue to provide education, awareness, and support remotely.
As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic, through mass vaccinations and reduced case rates, we are hopeful that many people will, in time, be able to once again venture out and regain their social networks and supports.
However, we are reminded of the many people with brain injuries who will remain isolated and afraid. The understanding we have gained from our own experiences with isolation this past year will drive OBIA’s ongoing passion to shine a light on brain injury and support those impacted by brain injury in Ontario.
Throughout June, in honour of Brain Injury Awareness Month, OBIA will be releasing a second series of multi-media podcasts titled Sharing Experiences with Concussion/TBI. This series was developed in collaboration with Headsup Concussion Advocacy Network. The series has five episodes led by leading experts in the field and consist of a group of individuals who have sustained brain injuries discussing their experiences in a safe and supportive environment.
#ShineaLightonBrainInjury #BrainInjuryAcrossCanada #BrainInjuryAwarenessMonth #BIAM #BIAM2022
Shine a Light on Brain Injury – Social Media Posts
June 1 marks the start of #BrainInjuryAwarenessMonth.
We encourage you to engage with OBIA and other Brain Injury Associations on social media, further your knowledge of brain injury, and make lasting impact for the brain injury community.
Did you know that 50% of all people with traumatic brain injury are affected by depression in the first year post-injury?
Canada needs more robust and accessible mental health services to support the mental health of individuals living with brain injury.
In a recent survey, 78% of caregivers reported that their role has impacted their mental health.
Caregiving is rewarding, but challenging – and understanding what goes into caregiving helps people understand how important caregiver support is.
Evan Wall was in a severe car crash at 19 years old that changed the trajectory of his life.
Read his story: https://braininjurycanada.ca/en/evan-wall
Did you know that there is an increased risk of a person developing a diagnosable mental illness after acquiring a brain injury? They have experienced fundamental changes to their brain, their self-identity, and their abilities.
The brain injury community needs reliable and equitable access to mental health diagnosis, services and supports.
A mental health survey circulated among the brain injury community identified that the majority of participants:
- Felt anxious
- Experienced depression
- Had mood swings
- Felt irritable
- Were isolated
- Had difficulties with anger
This has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals with brain injury need tools designed to support their mental health.
The stigmas surrounding brain injury along with its often invisible nature create social and systemic barriers that make it harder for people with brain injury to go about their daily lives.
We need to dismantle these stigmas and work together to Shine a Light on Brain Injury!
Kellylee Evans experienced two brain injuries that changed her life. Today she is performing and releasing new music.
You can watch Kellylee’s conversation with Brain Injury Canada here: https://youtu.be/oUrhEQ4QZVs
In a recent survey, 85% of participants reported they have experienced anxiety after an acquired brain injury.
Anxiety can impact daily living and socialization, making it more likely for a person to experience isolation and other mental health challenges.
Brain injury does not exist in its own bubble – it is intersectional, meaning it contributes to and is affected by personal circumstances & systemic barriers. The invisible nature of brain injury, the lack of appropriate services & supports, and lack of awareness create even more barriers.
More mental health AND social resources are needed to support the brain injury community.
“People don’t understand brain injury. Some [people] thought I was just being emotional.”
Read more about artist Kinnie Starr’s experience with brain injury: https://www.braininjurycanada.ca/en/kinnie-starr
Brain Injury Awareness Month ends on June 30, but that doesn’t mean we stop shining a light on it.
Brain injury doesn’t stop – and the brain injury community needs your attention and support year-round.