Every 18.5 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a brain injury. Have you suffered a brain injury or do you know someone who has? Whether you are a survivor of brain injury, family member, friend, healthcare provider, caregiver, neighbor or professional who works with the brain injury population, chances are you have been affected by brain injury in some way.
To raise awareness of the incidence and impact of brain injury in Massachusetts, BIA-MA launched a unique social media and advocacy campaign called “#BrainInjuryAffects.” Earlier this year during Brain Injury Awareness Month in March, BIA-MA featured stories and photos of those affected by brain injury through social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The stories and photos were also used to help BIA-MA advocate for increased funding for services survivors and their family members need. It worked! The fiscal 2014 budget for Massachusetts allocates 100% of the fines collected from DUI and OUI to go into the Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund, which in turn funds community-based services for brain injury survivors. However, our work is never done. We are never finished advocating for survivors and their families. It’s in our mission, it’s one of our four pillars: Prevention, Education, Advocacy and Support.
Therefore, we are continuing this campaign, and we need your help. We need your stories. There are 64,000 new traumatic brain injuries recorded in Massachusetts annually. This doesn’t account for acquired brain injuries such as stroke, aneurysm, brain tumor, anoxia, and birth-related brain injuries. Therefore, the total is quite a bit higher. The odds are that you know someone who has suffered from a brain injury. The “life after brain injury” is different than before, and sometimes the biggest challenge isn’t that you’ve survived; it’s that you need to recover and learn to adapt to a “new normal.”
Your participation is encouraged. See some of our #BrainInjuryAffects stories here.
How do you participate? If you have been affected by brain injury, we are asking you to photograph yourself holding up the sign you will find on www.biama.org. The sign should describe your relationship to brain injury in one word (e.g., survivor, mother, friend, sister, psychologist, provider, caregiver). You can submit your photo electronically by attaching it to the form on our website, sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org or posting it to our Facebook page or on Twitter using #BrainInjuryAffects in your Tweet.
We are also asking the general public to tell us how brain injury affects them by going to our website www.biama.org and filling out the short form, which asks how your life has been impacted by brain injury and what services you or other survivors need to have a better quality of life.Stories and photos can also be mailed to:
Marketing and Communications, BIA-MA, 30 Lyman Street, Ste. 10, Westborough, MA 01581
Your input will aid in advocacy efforts to gain services and support for survivors of brain injury. Throughout the budget season, BIA-MA will use various outlets, including e-mails, Facebook and Twitter, to send language the general public should use when communicating with legislators. The current script can be downloaded on www.biama.org/braininjuryaffects.html
If brain injury has affected you or someone you know, you can make a difference by getting involved in the campaign, telling your story today and calling your legislator. Interact with the campaign on Twitter by using #BrainInjuryAffects and on Facebook by going to http://www.facebook.com/BrainInjuryMA.