This week is Action for Brain Injury Week 2022 (16th to 22nd May).
Each year Headway UK and the Child Brain Injury Trust come together to focus on a particular topic and raise awareness.
This years campaign See the Hidden Me focuses on the difficulties and issues that arise from having what for many of those affected is a (largely) hidden disability.
See the Hidden Me aims to raise awareness and increase understanding of brain injury which can easily be misinterpreted or misunderstood, particularly when there are no physical signs of disability. The hidden nature of brain injury can mean that less attention is paid to meeting survivors needs both in terms of support and adaptations and also as a population group in terms of healthcare priorities and funding.
The Child Brain Injury Trust will also be using this week to highlight the main challenges faced by children with ABI and their families including how perception feeds into those issues. You can find out moire here: Action For Brain Injury Week 2022 - Child Brain Injury Trust
Having worked with and supported adults and children with brain injuries for many years, I have seen not only how easily their needs can be overlooked, but also how brain injury symptoms can be misinterpreted and mistaken for bad behaviour or even drunkenness.
Many difficulties faced by my clients and their families are exacerbated by the fact that those around them are simply not aware of the challenges and frustrations they face.
According to research conducted by Headway UK:
- More than half (55%) of brain injury survivors feel they have been unfairly treated as a direct consequence of their brain injury being hidden
- Two thirds of friendships (67%) and more than half (55%) of relationships with a spouse/ partner have been negatively affected as a direct consequence of the brain injury being hidden
- 9 out of 10 (86%) of people affected by brain injury (survivors and carers) felt that a lack of understanding from society is one of the main challenges to living life with a hidden disability
By raising awareness of brain injury and the hidden nature of neurological disabilities we can help to alleviate these challenges and frustrations.
Not all disabilities can be seen and it is important not to leap to judgement.The campaign message is simple: Be kind. Be patient. Don’t misread the signs. See the Hidden Me.
You can find out more at See the hidden me | Headway or by watching this video: https://youtu.be/7NcaFncHEUc
To the outside world, you may look as you did before, but whether it be the day-to-day difficulties, or reoccurring misunderstandings of the effects of your brain injury, See the hidden me will empower survivors to talk about when hidden disability has made life more challenging, whilst also asking the general public for more understanding and respect.