March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
The month of March is Brain Injury Awareness month. Throughout the month, many organizations across the country including Community Crossroads are putting forth the effort to de-stigmatize brain injuries, empower those who have survived as well as their caregivers and promote the types of support that are available for those with a brain injury through the #ChangeYourMind campaign.
Sam Martin, Acquired Brain Disorder Coordinator here at Community Crossroads noted that we partner with the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire in various ways throughout the year, all of which aimed at ending stigmas, providing support and empowering. One of those ways is the Walk By The Sea & Picnic that takes place in June of each year. The day brings people together within the community to support what is known as a “silent epidemic”.
It is known as a “silent epidemic” because it is a cognitive deficit and not necessarily a physical one. When it comes to Acquired Brain Disorders, someone could look physically fine but have issues when it comes to their cognitive health. Similarly, someone could heal from any of their physical damages but still be far from healed cognitively.
One of the most empowering and interesting ways Community Crossroads partners with the Brain Injury Association is with something known as the “Unmasking the Brain Injury Project”. “It is all survivors that are asked to participate and they create a mask of their brain injury between coloring, collaging and anything they want to do to present it. Those masks are then presented at events,” Sam stated the purpose of this is to allow survivors to share their personal story while showing each of these injuries are different and unique from one another.
Allowing brain injury survivors to share their story with others is important because there are some misconceptions about what it is like to have a brain injury. Sam said sometimes for people who are close to the brain injury survivor both before and after the incident will think the person is being dramatic or not understand why the injured can’t act in an expected manner. Lights are something that can be overstimulating for many with a brain injury as well. Sam described that many that are injured can hear the lights and feel physically distressed by them. While someone without a brain injury may think that is overreacting, they are not realizing what types of things are irritating to the person.
This is a reason why Community Crossroads not only puts effort into supporting those who are injured but supporting their caretakers as well by hosting support groups that both brain injury survivors and their caregivers are a part of. This allows both those impacted and the caregiver to receive any type of support needed.
Between the support groups and events that are held, Community Crossroads enforces the awareness of brain injuries not just in March, but during every day of the year. Sam noted that at a kayaking event held last year, one member of the brain injury community said, “for some time after the brain injury, I never thought I would do something so normal again.”
For more information on the Brain Injury Association of America and what you can do to partake in the #ChangeYourMind campaign, follow the links provided.