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#MoreThanMyBrainInjury: Recognizing Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), this year’s campaign for the second year in a row is #MoreThanMyBrainInjury

Acquired Brain Injuries impact many people throughout America. According to the BIAA, every nine seconds someone in the U.S. sustains a brain injury. Some of the most common causes of an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) include: vehicle accidents, infectious disease, electric shock, stroke, and trauma. 

The Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire (BIANH) is a state-wide organization dedicated to support people who have experienced a brain injury or stroke, as well as prevention, education, and advocacy for survivors and caregivers. Lori Sandefur is the Director of Events and Special Projects at BIANH and said the organization focuses on treating each individual as a whole – and not just focusing on their brain injury. People who have been through these experiences have goals, family, hobbies, and careers. Lori said, “Many people with disabilities have their lives defined for them. The #MoreThanMyBrainInjury campaign gives individuals a chance to overcome those definitions, allowing them to tell their own stories and change the narrative of their lives.”

One aspect of educating people about brain injuries is talking about some misconceptions that people hold. “Some people believe that once you leave the hospital, even after successful surgery, that all is ok and you will be fine. The focus is often on the acute care system. The chronic life-long phase of recovery is often overlooked and families are frequently given an unrealistic message and expectations when they leave the acute care hospital. This is just the first step in a life-long journey.   

36th Annual Walk By The Sea & Picnic

On Sunday, June 5th, brain injury survivors, family, friends, caregivers, and other loved ones will come together for the 36th Annual Walk By The Sea & Picnic at Hampton Beach State Park (160 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH) to raise awareness about what is known as a “silent epidemic”. “The walk is a very important day for many people. While the main purpose is to raise awareness – it is also a fun day for families to connect and enjoy a picnic together,” Lori said. 

The BIANH recommends attendees pre-register. Registration is free and anyone who registers before May 6 will receive a t-shirt. To register or for more information, go to walkbythesea.org

Brain Injury and Stroke Conference

The 2022 Brain Injury and Stroke Conference will take place on Wednesday, May 11th at the Grappone Conference Center (70 Constitution Ave, Concord, NH). Stacia Bissell is a brain injury survivor, educator, and speaker and will be the keynote speaker at this year’s event. She will be talking about Creating a Collaborative Team To Help You Return To Work.

Also being discussed at the conference, Post-Acute COVID Syndrome, Stroke in the COVID-19 Era, and much more. For more information and to register, click HERE

Supporting People With Acquired Brain Disorders at Our Area Agency

Sam Martin, Acquired Brain Disorder (ABD) Service Coordinator at our area agency supports people in our state with ABDs by collaborating with organizations throughout our state, and educating people on prevention and rehabilitation. “Collaboration is key to supporting the whole person. One of the ways that we support individuals living with brain injuries and their families is through our Collaborative Care model with the Center for Life Management, as this has been instrumental in supporting folk’s mental and physical health. This model has allowed for training to be provided on mental health and brain injury, which reduces stigmas and increases understanding,” Sam said while adding, “We collaborate with the Krempel’s Center, to encourage attendance to receive additional support, classes and education to adults living with brain injuries.” 

[Sam Martin, ABD Service Coordinator]

Brain injury survivors, parents, and loved ones are welcome to attend any of the four online support groups that take place in our state sponsored by BIANH. The support group in our area, facilitated by Sam, takes place on the second Tuesday of the month. This month, a guest speaker from the Brain & Spinal Cord Injury Advisory Council will be present. Learn more about brain injury support groups in our state HERE

“Because of the shared passion to support folks that we have with the companies we partner with, we have been able to wrap support around other teams, not just a whole person, leading to a very successful supported living,” Sam concluded. 

 

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