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World Brain Day Brings Awareness to Mental Health

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 7/22/2022

Mental health awareness is receiving renewed focus across the globe. Everything from quarantine to the war in Ukraine and mass shootings have taken their toll.

World Brain Day aims to bring awareness to both mental health and neurological health, as one in six people are affected by a brain disease, according to the American Brain Foundation. It also aims to provide prevention methods to help improve and preserve good mental health, as well as help prevent physical brain diseases—as they can affect anyone.

The World Federation of Neurology began World Brain Day back in 1957 and to this day campaigns and educates about the importance of neurological health. The World Federation of Neurology website provides several resources on brain diseases and neurology.

Some of the most common brain diseases include stroke, Alzheimer’s, migraine, concussion, traumatic brain injury, brain tumors, amnesia, hydrocephalus, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and intracerebral hemorrhage. A stroke is caused by a blockage in the blood supply to the brain or a ruptured artery to the brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A stroke is one of the many brain diseases that is cause for an emergency, and it is important to understand the symptoms as quick treatment is critical.

Migraines are also among the most common of brain diseases, affecting millions of people in the United States. Symptoms often include severe headache, but migraines can also cause neck pain, chills, phantom smells, brain fog (confusion), insomnia, congestion/watery eyes, dizziness/vertigo, mood changes, and sensitivity to light, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been a rising concern in physical sports. CTE is a fatal brain disease that stems from continued traumatic brain injuries, including concussions. Symptoms of CTE include memory and thinking problems, confusion, personality changes, and erratic behavior, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Unfortunately, there is no cure or treatment for CTE aside from temporary treatment for cognitive and behavioral symptoms.

The toll mental health can take physically on the brain as well is worth noting. The Premier Neurology & Wellness Center listed six ways stress can affect the brain, including impairing memory, changing the brain’s structure, higher likelihood of mental illness, the killing of brain cells, and shrinking of the brain. Surprisingly, the center notes that stress can actually improve cognitive function.

Mental Health America has created a large list of tips and tricks to help positively boost mental health. Included are suggestions such as setting up a vacation to get some time away, writing a gratitude journal, and showing some love to someone close. Check out the full list by clicking this link.