September is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can happen to anyone. In the past few years, we have heard much about TBI in high school and college athletes. As a matter-of-fact, when the experts tell us the most dangerous sports for young people to engage in, the main way that is determined is by the number of neck and brain injuries per capita. The last list we saw showed that soccer and cheer leading were the most dangerous of high school sports, and for good reason: falls which include serious head injuries can be severe.
As you can see by our graphic, the type of symptoms could very well be different for people who suffer from TBIs. Since different parts of the brain regulate different things connected to our bodies, it would depend on the location of the brain that becomes injured. For example, if someone seriously injures their frontal lobe, they may experience problems with making rational decisions or problems with speaking. On the other hand, someone who injures their temporal lobe may find it difficult to remember things or understand the language they grew up speaking. Increasingly, we hear stories of people who experience an accident who don’t even know they have a brain injury until they start experiencing obvious challenges that they didn’t before, and when they start describing those issues with their health care provider, tests are done to see if there is an actual problem connected to the accident.
A recent study done by a team lead by Dr. Nakase-Richardson also showed that the majority of TBIs suffered by civilians are characteristically different from the majority of those experienced by military personnel and veterans. Their team have found, in part, that civilians suffer TBIs mainly caused by falls; whereas, military and veterans suffer more TBIs associated with violence and traumatic events. It makes us wonder if the trauma veterans experienced aggravates anxiety and possible Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in addition to the difficulties created by the brain injuries. It would be interesting to further the Nakase-Richardson study by looking at brain injuries suffered by our other heros, our first responders, firefighters, crisis intervention teams, and police officers.
EdWellCo offers a 16-hour Traumatic Brain Injury course created by the VA for local TBI sufferers intended to educate those who are suffering and their caretakers. If you know someone in Indiana who needs our TBI educational program, please contact via email at email@example.com.
We hope that everyone who attended the Indiana Health & Wellness Summit, hosted by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Wellness Council, had a great time! We found the conference to be extremely informative.
Pam taught a pre-conference training, a certification seminar on Mental Health First Aid where we were able to certify 28 new Mental Health First Aiders! We are so excited to know that so many organizational leaders are serious about the well-being of their workforce, and their customers, and want to find ways to make the workplace better for all. Congratulations to all of you new First Aiders! Just as important to us is that at least five of those attending plan to go on to become Mental Health First Aid instructors! We wish you luck and thank you for your future efforts: Thank you!
Pam also spoke at a break-out session at the conference about the prevalence of mental illness in the USA, Indiana, and the workplace. She made some suggestions on what employers could do to inform their workforce and make the workplace a better place for all. How do we suggest starting? Here are some ideas: 1.) Teach everyone about mental health issues; 2.) Create an Organizational Plan of Action so people know what to do when they come across someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis at work; 3.) Keep a list of emergency hotlines posted in strategic places; 4.) Ensure employees and families have access to care; 5.) Keep leaders informed; and 6.) Ensure that personnel are certified in one of many crisis-based mental health training programs.
Which certification programs do we suggest? Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), suicide prevention certifications (QPR and ASIST are good), and Mental Health Fist Aid (about mental health in adults) & YOUTH Mental Health First Aid (about mental health in children & youth). The more people start talking about and learning about mental health crises, the sooner people will get help. Early intervention is key to successful recovery and getting people back to work.
We look forward to next year’s Health & Wellness Summit! A Healthy Workplace is a Great Workplace!