Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
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#5Thoughts Friday
Here are the 5 things we thought were
worth sharing with you this week:
September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
Navy veteran Lee Becker knows how hard it can be to ask for help in the military.   

“I remember when I was in the military I had to talk to leaders [who] would chastise service members for getting medical support for mental health,” said Becker, who served at the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, providing care to Marines and Sailors serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So when he began his career at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) about a decade ago, he knew things needed to change. In 2017, the suicide rate for veterans was 1.5 times the rate for nonveteran adults, according to the 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, increasing the average number of veteran suicides per day to 16.8. 

“The VA historically has always been in reactive mode, always caught by surprise,” he said, citing the example of the lack of health care for female veterans, who are 2.2 times more likely to die by suicide than non-veteran women. 

After an explosive report by the Washington Post in 2014 detailing tens of thousands of veterans waiting for care as VA employees were allegedly directed to manipulate records, some things have changed. This April, veteran trust in the VA reached 80 percent, up 19 percent since January 2017, according to the agency. And the former chief of staff for the Veterans Experience Office is now working for Medallia, a customer experience management company. He is the solutions principal for public sector and health care, and he helped launch the Veterans Signals program in partnership with the VA. 

The program utilizes artificial intelligence systems typically used in the customer experience industry to monitor responses based on tone and language and respond immediately to at-risk veterans. About 2,800 crisis alerts have been routed to VA offices, according to Medallia, providing early intervention for more than 1,400 veterans in need within minutes of being alerted. 

CLICK HERE to read more about the military's innovative way of saving service member lives.
Group Check-In Chat
from Noon to 1pm.

Please CLICK HERE to sign up using our online registration.

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

We hope to "see" you there!
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.

The Maryland Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program (MD VIPP) and the Partnership for a Safer Maryland (PSM) are hosting the 2020 MD Violence and Injury Prevention (MD VIP) Virtual Forum for individuals that are interested in and/or working on violence and injury prevention projects and programs. This includes intentional and unintentional injury topics such as intimate partner/sexual violence, suicide prevention, and alcohol/substance use disorder.
CLICK HERE to Register for this FREE Virtual Forum on
Sept. 22nd.
Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash
Say there's a bomb attack on a military base. A few of the soldiers suffer concussions and other brain injuries. Could some of the injuries be caused by tiny bubbles that form and collapse within the skull during head trauma?

Researchers at Iowa State University, with the support of grants from the Office of Naval Research, are using their expertise with the manufacture of microstructures to study and describe the damage to brain cells caused by the formation and collapse of microbubbles -- a process known as cavitation.

The researchers report their findings in a paper featured on the cover of the July 2020 issue of the research journal Global Challenges. Lead authors are Nicole Hashemi, an Iowa State associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Alex Wrede, a former doctoral student and postdoctoral research associate in Hashemi's lab.

The researchers write that microbubbles measured in microns -- that's millionths of a meter -- can form in cerebral spinal fluid inside the skull during traumatic brain injuries.

The researchers wrote the "formation and dramatic collapse" of these microbubbles could be responsible for some of the damage in a brain injury.

Bubble damage may sound trivial. But bubble collapse, and the resulting shock waves, are known to damage the steel foundations of boat propellers. The researchers report that prior studies indicate the expansion and collapse of microbubbles creates forces of 0.1 to 20 megapascals, or 14.5 to 2,900 pounds per square inch.

" ... So it is alarming to realize the damage that cavitation inflicts on vulnerable brain tissue," the researchers wrote.

CLICK HERE to find out more on what tiny bubbles can tell us about brain injury.

CLICK HERE to read the journal article.

ONLINE Brain Injury Support Groups

CLICK HERE to find a list of Brain Injury Support Groups Currently Meeting ONLINE.

In July 2016, my husband, Paul Sorensen, walked into the crosswalk at Sixth Avenue and Union Street in downtown Seattle and never made it to the other side.

A car running a red light hit him so hard he flew over the roof, and when he landed, he sustained a severe traumatic brain injury. On this fourth anniversary of his accident, I can’t help but think of the strong parallel between the trauma and adjustments a family faces after a loved one experiences a life-threatening, life-altering injury or sudden illness and the trauma we’ve all been going through since the arrival of COVID-19.

The coronavirus, like the speeding car that hit my husband, smashed into our lives and suddenly deprived us of the world we used to know. It has left us with an uncertain future: Will the economic hardships ruin us? Will things ever return to our old normal again? Will we lose loved ones to the virus?
These are scary, unsettling times, and just like a family impacted by a catastrophic brain injury, we’ve all been forced to change how we live and work and play. We have to carefully plan how we travel, how we shop and even how we walk down the street. We’ve all been unexpectedly called upon to become caregivers. We’re being asked to put someone else — in these coronavirus times, complete strangers — first so they may continue to thrive. Social distancing, forgoing parties and wearing masks in public are things we now do to care for others, not just to protect ourselves.

CLICK HERE for more on Marianne's new perspective on perseverance and the healing power of gratitude .
CLICK HERE for more information about the the services, resources, and connections you can make with through the Maryland Coalition of Families.
Feature Event ONLINE : Sept. 22 and 23, 2020

Workgroup Sessions : Sept. 24, 25, 28, & 29, 2020

Podcasts Available : Beginning Sept. 22, 2020

Post-Intensive Workshop : Sept. 29, 2020

CLICK HERE for the Agenda (Tentative.)

CLICK HERE to Register
2) What We are Reading This Week
From best-selling Native American writer Joseph M. Marshall III comes an inspirational guide deeply rooted in Lakota spirituality.

When a young man’s father dies, he turns to his sagacious grandfather for comfort. Together they sit underneath the family’s cottonwood tree, and the grandfather shares his perspective on life, the perseverance it requires, and the pleasure and pain of the journey. Filled with dialogues, stories, and recollections, each section focuses on a portion of the prose poem “Keep Going” and provides commentary on the text.

Readers will draw comfort, knowledge, and strength from the Grandfather’s wise words—just as Marshall himself did.

CLICK HERE for more on this book.
1) Quote We Are Contemplating...

  • "The quality of your future is mostly dependent on what you currently do in your free time."

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


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 Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.