Imagine waking up tomorrow and not being able to walk.
Imagine trying to speak but words get tangled.
Imagine not remembering who you are.
Imagine your independence being stripped away with a single catastrophic event.
Brain injury is real.
It can happen to anyone, anytime, at anyplace. Often referred as the invisible epidemic, brain injury—unlike a broken leg, for example—is not an obvious injury. People affected by brain injury are sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. Brain injury can permanently alter a person's life, his/her career, and have a profound effect on social and family relationships.
"I didn't know anything about brain injury until it happen to my son. Now, when I meet people, I do not assume anything. This experience changed the way I see the world," said Juan Carlos, father and caregiver of a 25-year-old brain injury survivor.
According to a recent report to Congress from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated 5.3 million men, women, and children are living with a permanent traumatic brain injury-related (TBI) disability in the United States today.
Yet, how many people around us know about brain injury and the cognitive, emotional, sensory, and motor impairments that often accompany a brain injury event?
While some positive advocacy efforts have taken place at the national level, very little has been done within our communities to educate our neighbors, coworkers, and institutions. More importantly, a lack of knowledge severely compromises our ability to help the vulnerable people that needed it the most.
It is of critical importance that we combine efforts to send an effective and uniform message, increase awareness, and promote advocacy for brain injury. By increasing knowledge on the causes and symptoms of brain injury, we reduce the stigma associated with brain injury. Knowledge can also support advocacy initiatives, policies and legislation for children, teenagers and seniors. Thus, increasing funding opportunities for long-term rehabilitation options for people living with brain injury.
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) continues to lead the nation in observing Brain Injury Awareness Month by conducting an engaging public awareness campaign. The #ChangeYourMind public awareness campaign provides a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of people with brain injuries and their families.
For additional information an printable materials on the #ChangeYourMind Campaign, including fact sheets and awareness flyers, click HERE.