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Brain Awareness Week :: Brain Awareness Week 2014

Brain Awareness Week 2014

A Sensitive Supported Diagnosis for All: Parliamentary Event & Exhibition

For this year’s Brain Awareness Week, the Alliance held a successful event and exhibition in the Scottish Parliament focusing upon issues regarding diagnosis and post diagnostic support. We are grateful to Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse who sponsored this year’s activities. Sponsor Christina McKelvie MSP

Our Parliamentary event held in Committee room 1, ‘Breaking the News; a sensitive supported diagnosis for all' focused upon how people with neurological conditions are diagnosed, what post diagnostic support they need and the impact of living with a neurological condition for them and their families. This year, there was a fantastic exhibition of art work and quotes displayed, made by people with different neurological conditions to creatively express their experiences.

The art work was created during an art workshop prior to the event, using a range of art materials and facilitated by Edinburgh based Art therapist, Alison Wren. All participants enjoyed the art workshop, using creative methods to depict their neurological journey and to communicate some of the hidden aspects of living with a neurological condition. Quotes were gathered throughout the art workshop and were displayed next to the person’s art canvas at the event in Parliament. This provided audience members with a visual story and prompted discussion with the ‘artists’ who all attended the event alongside the Alliance member organisation for that condition, many displaying their organisations banner stand and literature.

Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson addressed the audience, highlighting Scottish Governments commitment to ensuring high quality care to people affected by neurological conditions. The audience also heard speeches from Consultant Neurologist John Paul Leach and MS Society member Gillian, who told her very eloquent and powerful story about her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis. 10 MSPs attended the event which was excellent as the event unfortunately coincided with a number of other events and meetings that evening. Many of our member organisations also attended and were involved in various ways.

The week long exhibition was held in the garden lobby and displayed literature from many member organisations as well as a model of the brain and various brain facts. 50 MSPs visited the stand throughout the week and spoke to Alliance representatives about the work of the Alliance and issues faced by people with various neurological conditions. MSPs who visited the stand were sent a briefing document from the Alliance which highlighted issues of diagnosis and the need for good post diagnostic support. The briefing also provided data on the current neurologist workforce in Scotland, illustrating gaps and stressing the need to ensure adequate staffing levels. The briefing document can be accessed here.

We also had a fun interactive 'Brainiest MSP' competition at the exhibition stand. MSPs taking part were asked to match different brain functions to the correct area of the brain controlling those functions. There was a large picture of a brain with different lobes highlighted and a set of 6 cards with different functions. MSPs were timed as they matched the functions and lobes. Congratulations to Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian who won the competition!

Overall the awareness raising activities during Brain Awareness Week 2014 were a great success, bringing together member organisations, people affected by neurological conditions, health professionals and MSPs in an interesting and engaging way. Many thanks to all involved.

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