The Survivors of Brain Injury: Training for Behavioral Health Advocates and Peer & Recovery Support Specialists will provide behavioral health staff with the knowledge necessary to better serve those they work with who are susceptible to or have an acquired brain injury. Across the board, data shows those served through Medicaid and Community Behavioral Health Systems belong to populations that disproportionately sustain multiple brain injuries during their lives and are at much higher risk to deal with chronic cognitive, somatic, behavioral, and social impairment as a result. These high-risk, vulnerable populations include justice involved youth and adults, survivors of interpersonal violence, individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness (SMI) and Substance Use Disorders, survivors of opioid and other drug overdoses, veterans, the LGBTQ+ community, unhoused individuals, and children in foster care.
For most brain injury survivors, the symptoms they live with are often invisible to others, creating opportunities for them to be misdiagnosed and mislabeled by the behavioral health system. This most frequently leads to the prescription of incorrect treatment and creates mistrust for healthcare providers. Long-term brain injury-related symptoms, when left unidentified, will negatively affect a person’s recovery in all four major life dimensions: Health, Home, Purpose, and Community.
The best way to ensure Advocates and Certified Peer and Recovery staff provide support services that are recovery-centered, relationship-focused, and trauma-informed is by educating and providing them the tools to identify and address the unique needs of those with brain injuries.
This five-hour training offered through the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona is facilitated by Certified Brain Injury Specialists and subject matter experts in the field. Participants will learn about the human brain, how it works, and the resulting impacts when an individual sustains mild, moderate, or severe brain injuries. In addition, staff will acquire the knowledge and tools to identify and accommodate members who may be experiencing physical, cognitive, and behavioral-emotional impairment due to brain injury, as well as a roadmap for connecting members and their treatment team with appropriate community-based resources.
Staff who complete this course will receive a professional certificate from the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona signifying they are trained to work directly with populations affected by brain injury. The behavioral health community service provider agency will also be listed in the Brain Injury Alliance’s vetted resource database as a culturally responsive provider that can address the unique needs of Arizona survivors and their families who live with brain injuries.