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Indigenous Canadians, domestic violence survivors at higher risk of brain injury

The Homeless are also at higher risk of suffering traumatic brain injuries, according to the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia

There is a very good chance what you think about brain injury is incomplete.

Without question, those in sports, youth and young people along with the elderly are the groups you may immediately associate with brain injury. However, there is no discrimination based on activity, gender, age, or any other factor. The truth: every Nova Scotian is at risk at any stage of life. But the circumstances of a person’s life can dramatically impact their treatment and recovery.

Sadly, far too many persons who suffer a brain injury find themselves unable to access supports and services. For certain groups of brain injury survivors, there are socio-economic and proximity barriers to treatment.

One such group are Indigenous Canadians. The data is clear and the picture it paints is alarming. For Indigenous Canadians and especially those in rural areas, the rate of brain injury is four times higher. Combine that disturbingly higher rate of brain injury with being in rural areas this complicates recovery due to a lack of support services and treatment education.

Another group for whom brain injury and trauma is especially troublesome is Canadians experiencing homelessness. Once again, situation and circumstances dramatically impact important treatment or even diagnosis. Over 60 per cent of Canadians experiencing homelessness have suffered at least one traumatic brain injury in their lifetime and a further 20 per cent will suffer a traumatic brain injury within the next 12 months.

Yet another group for whom brain injury is especially problematic is Domestic Violence Survivors. Within this group is the added complexity of seeking medical care. Domestic Violence survivors often refrain from reporting injuries for a variety of reason such as shame and fear of judgment. Yet again, the data is clearly alarming with 35 per cent to as much as 80 per cent of women impacted by intimate partner violence experience symptoms of a traumatic brain injury.

It is easy to dismiss brain injury as a random event to a small percentage of the population. The truth is that such injuries are happening across the spectrum of society and the effects of such injuries are far more complex than most of us would expect.

While this article shines a light on brain injury for the groups above, it is important to remember these groups are really individuals, people. People just like you. Their circumstances are different but much like you, each one should expect the same access to judgment-free treatment and recovery for their brain injury.

Fortunately, Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia exists to offer supports not only to these groups but everyone impacted by a brain injury and are always advocating and working for awareness and supports to be created to help individuals and their families affected by brain injury.

If you or someone you know is struggling to recover from a brain injury turn to the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia for free programs, supports, services, and resources.

Riley Smith

About the Author: Riley Smith

Riley Smith is a news editor who has been a member of the Village Media team since November 2018. A graduate of history and political science at Algoma University, these also happen to be her favourite topics to read and write about.
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