HCN News & Notes

MHA Joins Brain Injury Assoc. to Offer Support Group

SPRINGFIELD — MHA is partnering with the Brain Injury Assoc. of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) to offer a local support group to the community of individuals affected by brain injury. Group members will share resources, including educational opportunities and recreational events.

The group meets on the third Thursday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon at the Resource Center, MHA’s state-of-the-art day-program facility, at 147 Magazine St. in Springfield. The group first met on June 20. The next session is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 21.

“The brain-injury support group is primarily designed for survivors of brain injury, but is open to anyone affected by brain injury, including family members and caregivers,” said Emily Gracewski, the Resource Center’s Day Services coordinator. “Anyone affected by brain injury may join simply by showing up. The group provides a safe space for survivors to come together, where they will be treated with dignity and respect by people who strive to understand their individual experience.”

The group is facilitated by Gracewski with the support of Scott Doane, BIA-MA’s resource and support liaison. “Personal expression and mutual support are the seeds of the group; increased coping skills and healing are the fruit,” Doane explained. “BIA-MA understands the impact of brain injury, regardless of severity or cause, on the individual, family, and community. Our programs and services aim to empower and engage people by providing an opportunity to connect with resources and each other at support groups across the state, including our new partnership with MHA at the Resource Center.”

According to Gracewski, what happens in the support group is based on the members’ expressed interests and needs. “Examples of what happens include icebreakers, education on the different kinds of acquired brain injuries, viewing and discussion of TED Talks, sharing of personal stories and experiences, and sharing of BIA-MA resources. Support-group members should expect to be welcomed, and any of their contributions, thoughts, and ideas to be valued and remain confidential.”

To learn more, contact Gracewski at (413) 233-5336 or egracewski@mhainc.org.