The Brain Health Initiative (BHI) is a cutting-edge approach to protecting brain health, promoting brain performance, and fighting brain illness across the lifespan. The BHI is creating brain healthy communities, cultures that foster brain health protective factors and address risk factors, thereby improving brain health and optimizing brain performance outcomes for the Florida Suncoast region and beyond. Join the Be Brain Healthy movement, because brain health matters, and lifestyle makes a difference.

What is brain health? Why is it so important?

A healthy brain is crucial to our overall well-being. Brain health includes not only the physiological and metabolic health of the brain as an organ, but also the dynamic interaction between brain, mind, body, and environment. This includes our ability to concentrate, remember, communicate, learn, and maintain a clear, active mind, as well as to engage with the outer world. Brain health impacts virtually every aspect of our lives, from our physical health and functioning to our emotional health and our relationships with others, as well as how we can perform in our professional and/or our academic careers.

Taking preventative steps to keep our brains healthy, resilient, and performing optimally across the lifespan, beginning as early in life as possible, can have significant impacts on our health, life achievement, and ability to fight brain illness, such as depression, anxiety, and dementia. The Lancet International Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care estimates that over 40 percent of dementia cases globally could be prevented by addressing modifiable risk factors. The World Health Organization also has published guidelines on risk reduction for brain illness.

That is why the BHI Be Brain Healthy movement was created.

The Be Brain Healthy movement translates these findings into actions people can implement in their daily lives. Although many of us believe that maintaining a healthy and high-performing brain sounds important, we don’t really know what that means. The BHI Be Brain Healthy movement encompasses activities designed to engage and empower Suncoast residents about the importance of brain health, along with easy, concrete actions that anyone can take to stay brain healthy and brain powerful every day.

The movement is the BH’s multipronged approach to leveraging the power of community voices and actions to make a fundamental change in the way we care for our brains. With research as the foundation of the Be Brain Healthy movement, the BHI aims to:

  • Promote and protect lifelong brain health and optimal performance at the individual and community levels.
  • Elevate the subject of brain health to encourage action-oriented, meaningful conversations.
  • Encourage behavioral change that science shows us can help improve brain health and optimize brain performance across the lifespan.

Join the campaign to Be Brain Powerful®.

As part of the Be Brain Healthy movement, the BHI Be Brain Healthy: Be Brain Powerful® campaign is about to be launched in the Suncoast region. It is a collaborative effort with UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s and will be an ongoing effort.

This campaign is crucial for everybody, but particularly women, minorities, and youth. Women are the CEOs of family health, change agents in the communities, and the hardest hit by brain illness. Women are twice as likely as men to develop many brain illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s. Women also make up two-thirds of brain illness caregivers.

The campaign also focuses on racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities who often experience poor brain health outcomes due to multiple factors, including inaccessibility to high-quality brain health care services, cultural stigma surrounding mental health care, discrimination, and reduced access to information about brain health.

Youth in the community are also targeted by the campaign, to prepare them for leading their own brain healthy lifestyles as well as those of their future families and the greater community.

The 30-day Brain Health Challenge

The driver of this campaign is an initial 30-day brain health pilot challenge. It addresses the overall lack of awareness about brain health and encourages preventative lifestyle behaviors that support brain health protective factors and optimal performance: eating well, staying active, sleeping well, controlling risk, exercising your brain, and connecting with friends and family. The Brain Health Challenge will also spark conversation around brain health—through social media, real-world events, and your actions and commitment. The Be Brain Healthy movement and Be Brain Powerful® campaign will help families of the Suncoast region build a Brain Healthy Community, a culture that talks openly about protecting brain health while paying attention to their brain wellness and overall well-being. Pilot challenge participants will assist in the design of future challenges to be launched regionwide.

We make healthy choices for our bodies every day, but we rarely think about our brain health. Together, LET’S CHANGE THAT!

For more information, contact Kim Miele at [email protected].

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