Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
MAY is National Stroke Awareness Month.
  #5Thoughts Friday
The "V-E Day" Edit ion
#5ThoughtsFriday is Powered By :
Here are the 5 things we thought were
worth sharing with you this week:
Photo by  Allie  on  Unsplash
The months-long COVID-19 pandemic is causing a historic mental health crisis in our country that has deeply affected individuals living with brain injuries and their families. The US mental health system, which was already fragmented and underfunded, has been ill prepared to handle the surge of individuals coping with isolation, grief, and psychological trauma. Data shows that depression and anxiety are sending the nation into a tailspin.

On the other side of this is the budding teletherapy industry, which is often the only source of mental health care in under-served and rural communities. As a therapist in training, it is important to me to expand my knowledge and skills in teletherapy, which is increasingly important to master in the wake of this continuously evolving national tragedy.

I had the pleasure of attending a webinar about best practices in teletherapy presented by La Keita Carter, Psyd, LP, LCPC from The Institute of HEALing, LLC. Her presentation discussed the ethical standards that relate to providing therapy services virtually, detailed current research related about telehealth outcomes, and explained the pros and cons of using telehealth. Her presentation was sponsored in conjunction with the Pro Bono Counseling Project, which connects uninsured or under-insured low-income Marylanders with qualified mental health professionals at no cost. Organizations such as these are expanding their teletherapy options in response to the pandemic, which has prompted more trainings about teletherapy for mental health providers and consumers.

For BIAMD members considering using or providing teletherapy services, here are some key facts about teletherapy:

CLICK HERE for Arin's takeaways about this expanding mode of treatment.

CLICK HERE for Arin's takeaways about this expanding mode of treatment in downloadable PDF.
We are witnessing mandated social isolation and social distancing on an epic scale. As part of BIAMD's interest in serving Maryland's Brain Injury Community, we are starting what we call "Check-In Chats".

We would like to "check in" with anyone looking to share their experiences and challenges with either an individual or in a social group setting.

Even though we can't meet in person, there are many ways open to us, and, if you are interested, we would like to hear from you about your needs and how we can help you feel more connected.

Once we hear from you, we can move forward in setting up our chats. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Please CLICK HERE to sign up using our online registration form and express your interest in participating an upcoming conversation either individually or in a group.

The First Check-In Chat is Today, Friday May 8th,at NOON , with a Pre-Chat Tech Check at 11:30am for anyone who would like to take a few extra minutes to make sure they will be able to log in and participate.

Once we receive your registration, we will send you the link.

Come join us!
Photo by  S O C I A L . C U T  on  Unsplash
Welcome to the world of isolation.

You are joining people with chronic illnesses like chronic fatigue and debilitating injuries like brain injury. You are finding out what it's like to be in my world, where people stay physically away from you, and you're alone in your home, with maybe a cat or dog to keep you company and not much else — except that because the whole world, literally, is in the same boat, people are reaching out to you and you have the energy and ability and means to reach back. But those of us with brain injury remain isolated within the self-isolation of SARS-CoV-2, the official name of the novel coronavirus.

Isolation is no fun when the world isn't in it with you. People are busy. People see their own life filled with people, cannot imagine being in a home with no one but themselves, and prefer not to think about it. Suddenly, a virus sneaks out of an animal, infects a human, who infects another and another and another until the virus replicates itself around the world, and all the healthy people must join the social isolation movement of the elderly with no family, the chronically ill with no energy, the ones with brain injury with so many physical and cognitive problems and sensory overload that one is forced to rest in isolation for weeks to recuperate from participating in bits and pieces of regular life.

Suddenly, a virus shows the healthy what life is like for their ill and injured family and friends.

Yet, the healthy still see it as about themselves.

CLICK HERE for more on Shireen's perspective on this issue.
If you are having signs or symptoms of a stroke, CALL 911 immediately. TIME IS BRAIN. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to treat your resulting stroke symptoms.

An easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke and how to respond is F.A.S.T.:

F   = Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?

A  = Arm weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

= Speech difficulty: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred?

= Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. 

Zoom Room Support Group Meeting for Caregivers

If you're missing your in-person Brian Injury Caregiver Support Group due to cancellations but still would like to join in with others caring for a Brain Injury Survivor, please join our Zoom Room Support Group Meeting for Caregivers this Sunday evening from 7:30-8:45pm (Eastern Time).
Login with this link:
Find out more information on our website:  
or contact Tom Gallup at

(Expanding the housing policy of Maryland to include providing for fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income)

On May 7, 2020, and in accordance with Article II, Section 17(c) of the Maryland Constitution, SB530  (Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act) more commonly know as the HOME ACT, became law without the Governor's Signature.

This means that landlord's can no longer discriminate against otherwise eligible individuals by refusing to rent to them if some or all of their monthly rent is provided by a housing voucher.

This is a wonderful new tool allowing individuals with brain injuries, and many others, to live where they want to live even if some or all of their rent will be paid by vouchers.

Kudos to everyone who worked so hard for so long to see this bill become law.

Six Army soldiers who were injured in a ballistic missile attack in Iraq in January have been awarded Purple Hearts, and 23 others have been approved for the award and will get them later this week, U.S. Central Command said Monday.

Navy Capt. Bill Urban said the awards were approved by Lt. Gen. Pat White, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, following a review.

About 110 U.S. service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after the Iranian ballistic missile attack at al-Asad Air Base in Iraq on Jan. 8.

Initially, commanders and  President Donald Trump   said there were no injuries during the attack. But after several days, troops began exhibiting concussion-like symptoms and the military started evacuating some from Iraq.

Trump triggered criticism when he dismissed the injuries as "not very serious" and described them as headaches and other things.

CLICK HERE to see more.
2) What We are Reading This Week and Know You Will Enjoy
Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence.

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity.

Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

CLICK HERE for more.
1) Quote We Are Contemplating...

''The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not."

Have you ever clicked on the pictures posted at the end of every #5ThoughtsFridays? Try it. You might learn something fun!
Photo by  Mark Tegethoff  on  Unsplash

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This blog is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement of treatments, individuals, or programs which appear herein. Any external links on the website are provided for the visitor’s convenience; once you click on any of these links you are leaving BIAMD's #5ThoughtsFriday blog post. BIAMD has no control over and is not responsible for the nature, content, and availability of those sites. 

  Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.