June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)

Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

While so many take the simpliest of tasks for granted, each day hundreds of Canadians are instantly transported to a life-long journey where sudden, unknown barriers complicate what used to be easy.

Every day, more than 450 Canadians suffer a serious traumatic brain injury: and June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada.

With nearly one person every 3 minutes falling victim to a brain injury, almost 165,000 serious brain injuries are occurring per year: this does not include concussions, non-traumatic brain injuries, military injuries, or unreported cases.

Through multiple digital platforms and events, Canadian brain injury associations are working together towards one common goal: raising awareness about the prevalence of brain injury, the challenges faced by those living with it every day and how we can work together to ensure every individual is valued, supported and engaged in their communities.

However, a recent survey conducted by Canadian brain injury associations revealed approximately 61 per cent of respondents found general lack of awareness about brain injury a key issue. These results demonstrate that we need to work harder to shine a light on the prevalence and intersectionality of brain injury.

Acquired brain injury is defined as damage to the brain that occurs after birth. Brain injuries can have a variety of causes and affect every aspect of a person’s life. The statistics surrounding brain injury are astonishing. Approximately 1.5 million Canadians live with the effects of an acquired brain injury. Annual incidences of acquired brain injuries in Canada are:

  • 30 times more common than breast cancer
  • 44 times more common than spinal cord injuries
  • 400 times more common than HIV/AIDS

The term physical distancing was introduced as a safety measure during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but social and physical distancing is something that is often experienced by survivors of brain injury in their normal lives. Individuals with brain injury face environmental, cognitive, mental, emotional, physical, and societal barriers that cause increased isolation and affect daily living. And still as we all cope with months of separation from loved ones and restrictions from normal activities, those with brain injury are not considered or widely recognized. It’s time for that to change.

The Fraser Valley Brain Injury Association (FVBIA) has been providing programs for people with acquired brain injuries (ABI) throughout the Fraser Valley since 1997. FVBIA offers a variety of services such as Support and Skills Groups, Drop In and Community Recreation programs, Case Management, Health and Wellness activities, ABI Prevention and Awareness education for the community, Young at Arts Summer Camps for children and Family Focus groups.