Australia is joining the world migraine community for the first time in celebrating Migraine Awareness Month throughout June.
Patient advocacy body Migraine Australia is coordinating Migraine Awareness Month to align with their international colleagues. The month will kick off with the launch of a Change.org petition asking leaders of both major political parties to commit to making migraine a national priority.
Migraine Australia spokesperson, Raphaella Crosby, said many of the new organisation’s small and simple requests have been rejected because migraine is ‘not a priority’ for the Government, so it was important that the millions of Australians affected by migraine demonstrated that it is a priority to them.
“Migraine is a serious, genetic, spectrum disorder, the biggest cause of disability in people under 50, and a massive burden on our economy and health system,” Ms Crosby explained.
“It is an exciting time in migraine with many new treatments becoming available, but we need migraine to be a national priority so we can get the tools we need to get on with the job of managing our condition and reducing the burden of migraine on the community.”
“One in five Australians live with migraine, and barely five percent will have an appropriate care plan.”
“It’s not good enough to wait until someone is completely debilitated with chronic migraine attacks, lost their marriage or their job, or are unable to look after their kids, before they’re taken seriously and given appropriate care. We can do better,” Ms Crosby said.
Migraine Awareness Month also includes the #151facesofmigraine campaign, which aims to put a face to the condition, and help all Australian federal politicians in all 151 electorates to see people with migraine as their constituents who need their help.
“The stories on the 151 Faces of Migraine site are just a small representation of the thousands of people in each electorate that live with migraine.”
“We are sharing our stories so we can be seen as people, not just a headache,” Ms Crosby said. “People can keep adding their personal migraine stories throughout June.”
The climax of Migraine Awareness Month is the international Shades for Migraine event on June 21, where people across the world are asked to take a selfie with their sunglasses on and share it on social media with the hashtag #shadesformigraine to show they support people living with migraine.
More information about Migraine Awareness Month is available from the Migraine Australia website at www.migraineaustralia.org/mam2020 or follow the #mam2020 hashtag on social media.
Migraine is not just a headache
Migraine is a complex, genetic, incurable neurological disorder. Migraine is typically characterised by any combination of:
- moderate to severe throbbing or pulsating headaches
- nausea and vomiting,
- sensitivity to light, sound, or smells.
After a period of warning symptoms known as prodrome, the severe acute (or headache) phase of a migraine attack lasts up to 72 hours, followed by potentially weeks of prodrome or ‘migraine hangover’ symptoms. About a third of patients also experience ‘migraine aura’ before the acute phase, which can include a range of unusual neurological symptoms such as pins and needles, seeing spots or lines, or having difficulty talking.
Women are affected by migraine more frequently and severely than men. Of the five million Australians living with the condition, 390,000 live with chronic migraine (more than 15 headache days a month), and approximately 100,000 live with rare and serious migraine variants like hemiplegic migraine or vestibular migraine. Over 14,000 people are on Disability Support Pension because their migraine is so debilitating.
The economic cost of migraine in Australia has been estimated by Deloitte Access Economics at $35.7 billion annually. Per person, the cost of migraine is $21,706 per chronic migraine patient and $6,137 per episodic migraine patient.
Migraine Australia is a patient advocacy organisation founded in late 2019 to support and fight for all Australians living with migraine and their families.
Migraine Australia exists because we want migraine to be taken seriously in Australia and given our fair share of funding and services. We want all Australians living with migraine, whether they have a migraine attack every day, barely one a year, or anything in between, to feel supported and able to live a full and productive life.
Migraine Australia is working on a range of initiatives and projects to make a demonstrable difference to the wellbeing of all Australians living with migraine.
A language guide on how to discuss migraine has been produced by the US based Coalition of Headache and Migraine Patients (CHAMP) and is available at https://headachemigraine.org/wp-content/uploads/CHAMP-Language-Guide-Web.pdf
Raphaella Crosby email@example.com