Over the years working with people dealing with such an injury, it has become starkly apparent that there is very limited awareness within our society of how to identify and provide the necessary tools and support people living with a traumatic brain injury.
Headway UK's recently published statistics show that around 76 per cent of brain injury survivors face difficulties every day because of their hidden disabilities, which often result in misunderstandings with the public.
Understandably, this can be daunting not only for the person with the injury but also for their family, particularly if they are not always with them. I know of several people living with brain injuries where misunderstandings around their behaviour has led to problems with members of the public and sometimes the police.
Headway UK recently introduced the Headway Brain Injury Identity Card offered to all victims of a brain injury to support them. It is effectively designed to help police officers and anyone else to identify that someone has a brain injury so that they can be given the right support in certain circumstances and that any negative reaction to their behaviour is dealt with appropriately
As a Trustee of Headway South West London, our branch aims to provide service users with the space and platform to discuss their ongoing concerns and share stories and initiatives in a safe environment. We have discussed at length at support group meetings the benefits of the Identity Card and helped those interested to make their application.
It can be a very lonely place both for the individual and their friends and families, so assisting them to navigate through their road to recovery and providing a space for stories to be shared is absolutely key to supporting them along the way.
Initiatives such as the Headway card are essential in the often long-term rehabilitation programmes facing the brain injured to give them the support and confidence to get back out into the community, to get back to doing things they previously did without a thought, and ultimately to maximise their quality of life.
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