Angels Of Epilepsy
June - #AOENEWS, Blogs, Articles, Events, & More!
The Project UPLIFT Program Addressing the Mental Health of Blacks with Epilepsy in Georgia
By Demetrius Geiger, MPH, Ambiir Gray, MPH, Darryl Howard, MSM MPH Candidate, and Rakale Quarells, PhD
Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University are striving to improve the lives of Blacks with epilepsy through Project UPLIFT (Using Practice and Learning to Increase Favorable Thoughts). The purpose of the program is to teach people with epilepsy mental health skills to reduce and prevent depression, anxiety, and stress. The Project UPLIFT team is happy to announce that recruitment has ended!
Who participated in our study? We had a total of 82 participants to complete our 1st assessment. Nearly 70% of our participants were women, the average age was 41 years old, and the average age of epilepsy diagnosis was 24 years old. People with epilepsy face many challenges with advancing their education, gaining employment, and living above the poverty level. Although nearly 65% of our participants went to college, only 23% were employed and 58% made less than $25,000 per year. Epilepsy stigma is a big problem and employers are often hesitant to hire people with epilepsy.
Mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety are also common in the epilepsy community. Over 55% of our population had mild or moderate levels of depression and nearly 35% had mild anxiety. Depression and anxiety if not addressed can cause seizures to increase. Our goal is to determine if the Project UPLIFT program would work as well in Blacks. Stayed tuned and attend the PRC epilepsy webinar this summer to learn more about epilepsy and Project UPLIFT study results.
Last September, Guy Bradley began having episodes of severe and sudden confusion with night sweats and nausea.
"He'd wake up and not know where he was or what day it was," said his wife, Harriet.
Also troubling: the 69-year old suddenly could not find his way around the golf course he'd played all his adult life.
With each of the four episodes, Harriet and Guy would head to the closest emergency room. Each time, the diagnosis was scary – and yet didn't quite fit.
"We were told a mini-stroke, but they couldn't find evidence of stroke," Guy said. "We were told early stage dementia. At one point, there was a subtle suggestion of psychiatric issues."
But even as Harriet was terrified, she wasn't convinced these were the right diagnoses.
"It was nonsensical; Guy's confusion was episodic, not gradual, and really skill-specific," she said.
In one unusual episode at the grocery store, Guy had the sensation that almost everyone he saw there was familiar to him, but he couldn't place their faces.
"I've lived here all my life," he said. "I know a lot of people, but I knew that somehow what I was seeing wasn't right."
Dr. Terry O'Neill, Guy's UK primary care physician, ordered an EEG to look at the electrical activity in Guy's brain. The next day, Guy and Harriet met with neuropsychologist Lisa Koehl, Ph.D., for a neurodiagnostic consultation.
AOE's Advocate, Natalie Y. Beavers, speaks at the NMA's Region IV Conference in Milwaukee
Angels Of Epilepsy founder and survivor, Natalie Y. Beavers, alongside with Dr. Steven Owens from the Epilepsy Foundation Of America, spoke at the National Medical Association Region IV Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 1st.
Natalie shared her life journey living with epilepsy from her experience growing up to the different challenges she faced as an adult. She expressed to doctors and those in the medical community the importance to become personal with their patients and take a listen to their challenges.
Angels Of Epilepsy Foundation has heard from many epilepsy survivors and even families having difficulties expressing themselves even with their physicians. We're hoping changes will come related to epilepsy and those living with it.
Thanks to the National Medical Association and the Epilepsy Foundation Of America for allowing us to speak out about epilepsy and the importance of those affected in the minority communities.
* Follow Angels Of Epilepsy Foundation on Facebook to see photos from the NMA's Conference. *
'Trauma, exhaustion and a life or death situation' - the reality of having seizures on London buses and trains
Would you know what to do if you saw someone have a seizure?
It can be very traumatic to watch, but it's easy to help out and make a real difference to the safety of the person who's having the seizure.
Despite this, only 64% of people said they'd be happy, or know how, to help someone when they have a seizure, and over half believe myths such as putting a spoon in someone's mouth.
Angel Robinson-Sabaris, from Haringey , has had very mixed experiences when she suffers a seizure in public.
The 17-year-old said: "Once, I was on the bus and started to have a seizure. My sister screamed for the driver to stop and he didn’t.
"A lady told my sister to calm down, but my sister carried on and then they finally stopped the bus. An ambulance was called.
"My sister told me that people were complaining because they wanted to go home.
Angel said: "Then I had a seizure at school. I fell off my chair and no one knew what to do. My teacher was swearing, people were crying, and my classmates had to run and get help.
"Another teacher said it wasn’t important. I got a concussion and a massive bump on my head and my right arm and leg were all bruised.
Angels Of Epilepsy " i Am ME " Campaign
Follow Angels Of Epilepsy's YouTube channel and visit our website to see more videos from survivors and parents that has joined our " I Am ME " campaign!
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