Each June we observe Brain Injury Awareness Month to highlight the causes and effects of brain injury and help Canadians better understand the issue. In this post, we take a look at just some of the reasons why continuing to raise awareness is so important, in June and all year long.
Reason #1: Brain injury is a significant issue in Canada, and it needs our attention.
There are a lot of causes out there asking for our attention. But acquired brain injury is one that we just can’t ignore. Brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability for Canadians up to age 44. According to Brain Injury Canada, 160,000 Canadians sustain brain injuries each year and roughly 1.5 million Canadians live with the effects of acquired brain injury. (Source)
Reason #2: Brain injury can affect anyone.
“Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime.” That’s one of the messages being shared during Brain Injury Awareness Month 2019. Every Canadian should know that brain injury can affect them or someone they know. It can happen in an instant and be life-changing. But we don’t need to wait for it to affect us directly to care and to act.
Reason #3: Brain injury affects survivors in many different ways – and our communities need supports and solutions to match.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. And there is no single way to improve accessibility. One of the challenges for improving our communities to support brain injury survivors is that the injury is often “invisible”, unlike others that show on the outside. Understanding more about survivors directly from them, their families, and their caregivers will help us build more supportive communities where everyone can thrive.
Reason #4: The voices of survivors need to be heard and valued.
Brain Injury Awareness Month is one opportunity to give a platform to brain injury survivors to share their stories, experiences, needs and wishes. Given the nature of brain injury, this includes finding multiple ways of expression.
One example is the Unmasking Brain Injury project, which is in its second year in Ontario. Check out masks created by Brain Injury Association of York Region community members featured on the Ontario Unmasking Brain Injury page.