SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – MHA is partnering with the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) to offer a local support group to the community of individuals affected by brain injury. Group members share resources including educational opportunities and recreational events. The group meets on the third Thursday of every month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at The Resource Center, MHA’s state of the art day program facility, at 147 Magazine Street in Springfield. The group first met on June 20, 2019. The next session is scheduled for Thursday November 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 & 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 upon the members’ expressed interests and needs. “Examples of what happens include ice-breakers, education on the different kinds of acquired brain injuries, viewing and discussion of Ted Talks, sharing of personal stories/experiences and sharing of BIA-MA resources,” she explained. “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, please contact Emily Gracewski at 413-233-5336 or egracewski@mhainc.org.

About BIA-MA:
The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) is dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by brain injury while reducing its incidence and impact through prevention programs, education and training and legislative advocacy.
Founded in 1982, the BIA-MA is the primary conduit between survivors and an extensive network of facilities, programs and professionals including over 40 statewidesupport groups.
The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts is a chartered affiliate of the Brain Injury Association of America. For more information, visit www.biama.org or call (800) 242-0030.

About MHA:
What We Do
MHA (Mental Health Association) helps people live their best life. We provide access to therapies for emotional health and wellness; services for substance use recovery, developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury; services for housing and residential programming, and more. With respect, integrity and compassion, MHA provides each individual served through person-driven programming to foster independence, community engagement, wellness and recovery.

Why We Matter
The youth, adults, seniors and families we serve want the same things in life as anyone: to have friends, work, go to school, have meaningful relationships, express themselves (and be heard), and be accepted in their community for who they are. With our help and resources from a caring community, people can live their potential, in their community, every day.

How We Think
Starting in the 1960s, MHA’s groundbreaking efforts and advocacy helped to transition people away from institutional living to a life in our community. This became a model for the deinstitutionalization movement. Today, our leadership continues to advance awareness of mental health conditions and needs at local, regional and national levels. We drive compassionate care for those challenged by mental health, developmental disabilities, substance use, homelessness, acquired brain injury and more.