World Brain Day takes place on July 22nd 2020. This year’s theme is COVID-19: The Impact.
On World Brain Day, the Migraine Association of Ireland (MAI), aims to raise awareness of the impact of COVID-19 on people living with migraine – a complex neurological condition which affects around half a million of the Irish population.
The Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI) carried out a nationwide survey of over 600 people with neurological conditions and family carers to explore the impact of COVID-19. The survey findings reveal that over a quarter of people are experiencing significant challenges in accessing ongoing care due to the cancellation of appointments and the difficulty of scheduling routine treatments.
One third of patients reported a significant impact on family life and relationships and on emotional wellbeing.
The NAI findings echo MAI’s own research with migraine patients. A survey we posted on our Instagram channel confirmed that 72% of people’s symptoms has worsened since the lockdown.
Speaking in advance of World Brain Day, Mr Patrick Little, MAI CEO, said, “Many households have come under financial stress or hardship, with pay cuts, jobs that have been furloughed, or jobs that have been lost entirely. In many respects, our information suggests that those with migraine may have been disproportionately impacted by the additional burden brought on by the pandemic, with additional physical and mental stressors, serving as triggering factors for worsening symptoms.”
As stress is one of the main recognised triggers for migraine, the team at MAI quickly mobilised a response, by creating a ‘Frequently Asked Questions‘ section on our website to try to cover all the main areas of concern.
We also recruited expert speakers from different disciplines and developed an online programme to address emerging psychological needs. We continue to operate our Information Line (Monday to Friday) and have increased our activities on social media which has resulted in a huge increase in numbers of people in contact and also in the large numbers of people who have joined our online groups or viewed the presentations afterward.
Working closely with our migraine specialists, we will continue to address new ways to get information and support to people who are impacted by migraine during the pandemic.
MAI is Ireland’s only patient charity providing support, education, information and reassurance to people living with migraine. However, at a time when our services have never been more needed, we, like many charities are seeing an impact on our fundraising and sustainability.
On World Brain Day, we are calling on you to show your support on social media by using the hashtag #SAVEMYCHARITY. Please also consider donating to Migraine Ireland at https://migraine.ie/donate. Your support will help us reach people who need our services more than at any time in our 25-year history.
Note To Editors
Migraine is the most common primary headache seen by GPs and it affects over 500,000 people in Ireland. Severe migraine attacks are classified by the World Health Organisation as among the most disabling illnesses, comparable to dementia, quadriplegia and active psychosis.
There is a significant misunderstanding of this neurological condition in Ireland. Those with migraine can often feel stigmatised and misunderstood in the workplace, school and at home.
Through its campaigning and advocacy work, The Migraine Association of Ireland seeks to improve people’s understanding of the condition. We provide free seminars and self-management courses to people living with migraine. In order to improve conditions in the workplace we also train employers, institutions and government agencies to improve their understanding and treatment of their employees with migraine.
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