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Can the Innovative SallieⓇ Cater Toward TBI AND Mental Health?

The answer is YES.

Follow with me for a second here. 

Are you or a loved one suffering from mental illness? 

Are you or a loved one struggling with TBI symptoms?

Did you or a loved one experience these mental health struggles before or after your TBI?

Can you remember which came first?

The Relationship of TBI and Mental Health

Many individuals who suffer TBIs find themselves dealing with the more typical symptoms such as headaches and/or migraines, vision sensitivities, balance problems and difficulties focusing. And while these are not easy to overcome, these individuals did not expect to also be navigating through mental health struggles too. Even if the individual may have been exhibiting mental health struggles prior to their TBI, after they often worsen [1].

A new study found that 1 in 5 individuals may experience mental health issues following a TBI [2]. This finding suggests the importance of immediate care following a TBI, not only to address presenting brain symptoms, but also to prevent any progression towards developing or worsening mental health symptoms. 

This is exactly where Power of Patients comes in. Sallie, our TBI tracking dashboard, is an incredibly powerful tool, especially right after an individual suffers from a TBI. Tracking neurological, vision, speech, and emotional symptoms, Sallie can help users monitor how they are really feeling. Our unique user reports track changes and patterns seen across all of these domains so that users can see first hand if an area is worsening. For example if an individual were reporting a downward trend in their happiness, they would be able to see it in their report and notice the drastic change. Being able to examine these reports directly could be the nudge they need to seek professional help. 

We also provide patients with a free journaling space. Journaling has been proven to be beneficial for those struggling with mental health [3]. This free space provides them a chance to keep track of how they are feeling which has been seen to:

  • reduce anxiety, 
  • create awareness and 
  • encourage opening up, 

all of which are ways that have been shown to improve mental health [3]. 

The Financial Burden of TBI and Mental Health:

Managing mental illness and recovering from a TBI simultaneously, is difficult, and the health care world doesn’t make it any easier. 

Receiving effective treatment for a mental health condition is tough enough in itself. Paired with inadequate access to this treatment when required, leads to the accumulation of more medical treatments later on. The limit on physician options also drives the increase in demand for these medical professionals [4]. The increase in demand for these physicians is matched with an increase in medical expenses.  

This same detriment is seen across access to TBI related health care services [5].  There are significant barriers to health services for TBI patients. Barriers such as: 

  • Graphical boundaries
  • Transportation boundaries
  • Unavailability of specialized, age-appropriate and long term health services [5].

Beyond not being able to easily access TBI services, the expense to use any that are available, is astronomical. For a single individual, the lifetime cost of a brain injury with long-term effects is estimated to be between $600,000 and $1,875,000 [6]. The true cost of brain injury reaches much further than initial hospital bills, as proven by the over half a million dollars it costs to treat over a lifetime [7]. These costs encompass rehabilitation, long-term care and disability services. 

Financial loss can be measured. But emotional losses are intangible. The nearing 1 million dollar lifetime cost to survive a TBI, doesn’t even include the years they lose to disability and life altering consequences, such as mental illness [7]. 

How job loss is impact by TBI and Mental Health

Put your hands up if you have heard of or are inherently aware of these two statements:

  1. Unemployment has an adverse impact on mental health.
  2. A spiralling mental state has a negative impact on employment.

What many individuals may not realize is that both these statements make sense individually, but they also make sense together. In other words, these statements, in a way, form an inescapable loop.

If individuals are to lose their job due to a change in their mental health status, or a TBI, their ability to meet basic standards of living becomes out of reach, making it difficult to invest in good insurance plans to pay for their medical bills, mental health and TBI services[8]. This leads the individual inevitably to avoid treatment for their severe mental health conditions and TBI symptoms altogether. Consequently, this drives up the cost of long-term medical expenses, as immediate treatment of the medical condition gets pushed behind, making the condition more serious and long-term. 

COVID-19 Exacerbating All of the Above

Throughout the pandemic, job loss and income loss, has peaked. Both job and income insecurity affect mental health, seen by adults reporting higher rates of anxiety and depressive disorder [9]. Now imagine how much these rates have increased for individuals who are also trying to recover from a TBI? The compounded effects of a global pandemic, inaccessible treatment services and isolation from support systems, can be incredibly damaging for individuals. Beyond struggling with exacerbated mental health struggles, individuals with brain injuries need to be especially concerned about contracting COVID-19. When infected with COVID-19, the virus attacks the weakest part of the body. So individuals with longstanding chronic medical conditions, such as a brain injury, are at the greatest risk for worsening complications [10]. A recent study found that one in three individuals who contract COVID-19 will have prolonged mental health or neurologic symptoms [10].

It is important to note this added angst experienced by TBI survivors during this time. Power of Patients validates your feelings and are always here to hear you out and to provide endless support through each step of your recovery.

We’re Here to Help

While we at Power of Patients wish we could fully eliminate the obstacles obstructing access to care for TBI and mental health survivors, we do provide our following with a ground-breaking online tool to help manage these conditions. 

We are also committed to driving research in both fields. Power of Patients is especially concerned in improving the welfare of those suffering from debilitating symptoms, caused by TBI and resulting mental health struggles.

Using the Power of Patients customized symptom tracker to track one’s symptoms and healing will not only help and your clinician better understand your symptoms in a broader context, but it will also give Power of Patients the opportunity to use your information to study effective treatments for TBI patients. Overall, it is a win-win situation for patients, caregivers, clinicians, and medical researchers. See how Power of Patient’s symptom tracker can help you or your loved one today! We are here with you through every step of your journey.

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