This week is Brain Injury Awareness Week #BIAW20

This week is Brain Injury Awareness Week #BIAW20. At The Hopkins Centre, over half of our research projects focus on brain injury, so this week is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of finding new ways of working in this complex area. Our partner organisations, our Ambassadors and our talented clinicians and academics are all doing their bit to advance brain injury awareness and rehabilitation.  

It has been estimated that over 700,000 Australians already have a brain injury, but it is expected that brain injury will become a global public health concern in the near future. Forecasts suggest that up to 50% of the world’s population will experience a brain injury at some point in their lifetime, either themselves or in their close social network. There is no doubt that we are working in a very important area and it will only gain importance in the future. 

As usual, this week makes me think about my own sudden leap into the brain injury world in the 1980s. After living with brain injury in my family, I joined the late Alwyn Ricci and volunteered at what was to become Headway. During the next decade, I met and worked with some of the most heartbroken families. I will never forget most of those families. I still occasionally visit some of them and, invariably, brain injury continues to affect their quality of life. The level of unmet need in the community was and still is, overwhelming. 

In 1990, we finally received funding to establish a major brain injury service in Brisbane and I was funded by the Australian Government to research the needs of those with brain injuries. It was an opportunity to highlight the lack of services, the misunderstandings about brain injury, the stigma and loss experienced by so many families. That service continued to grow and is now known as Synapse <web-link>, one of our valued affiliate research partners. The dedicated staff members at Synapse have been advocating for early intensive intervention, sustained rehabilitation and supportive community services for over three decades. 

Our research with Synapse has always played an important role in social change, revealing gaps in brain injury services and informing decision-making, assessment methods and accommodation services. One of our most important joint projects right now is focused on the needs of prisoners with hidden disabilities, including brain injury, FASD, hearing impairment or mental illness. This is a very challenging and under-researched area. We need to deliver better solutions for people with disabilities in prison. There is no area in more urgent need of innovation, but any advances in this area must coalesce with significant rights-based interventions. We cannot continue to just save lives, we must also maximise the opportunity for quality lives following brain injury. We must prevent the negative pathways that lead from brain injury into homelessness, addiction and mental ill--health, corrective services or worse. 

During this COVID-19 global pandemic, many people have experienced significant social isolation for the first time. They have experienced the feeling of being vulnerable and uncertain about the future. All too often, this is a daily experience for families who have been touched by brain injury. This Brain Injury Awareness Week, we will be sharing stories from our Ambassadors, describing important brain injury research and showcasing some of the incredible work undertaken by Synapse. Please look out for these stories, follow them and share them to do your bit for awareness of brain injury and a better future for everyone. 

Brain image and THC logo for Brain Injury Awareness Week


Tags: Brain Injury Awareness Week, BIAW20, Brain Injury

Related Articles

Back to Articles