Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Sometimes It's Not a Behavioral Health Diagnosis: March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Sometimes It's Not a Behavioral Health Diagnosis: March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Article excerpt

Given that March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, now might be an opportune time to evaluate how your organization screens for and handles people with brain injuries, especially since soldiers returning home from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are showing higher rates of brain injuries than seen in previous wars.

It's important to "go an extra mile and do an assessment" for brain injuries in people who present with behavioral health problems, notes Geoffrey M. Lauer, national director of affiliate relations for the Brain Injury Association of America, because the treatment modalities for brain injury can be very different than those for behavioral health disorders.

Lauer notes that brain injuries have many causes. Brain injuries can be caused by strokes and disease (such as cancer), and those considered traumatic brain injuries are caused by an external force, such as car crashes or falls. Lauer admits that there is no easy test for determining whether someone is presenting with a mental health disorder versus a brain injury, although he suggests some good resources are available to help. For example, the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation has a tool for community professionals who are not experts in brain injury but want to identify persons in need of more comprehensive assessment (see www.ohiovalley.org/abuse/pdf/tbi.pdf). Lauer suggests materials from the Traumatic Brain Injury National Data Center might be useful (see www.tbindc.org), as well as information on the Brain Injury Association of America's Web site (www.biausa.org), which includes materials on Brain Injury Awareness Month.

Although neurologic imaging options are available, they are not necessarily an accurate measure of a brain injury's symptom severity. Explains Lauer: "There are people who have very mild injuries but have moderate, significant, or severe outcomes. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.