Over 1.5 million Americans suffer nonfatal traumatic brain injuries each year which do not require hospitalization. An estimated 62.persons out of every 100,000 adults age 15 and over are living in the community with enduring functional impairments due to TBI. In spite of a persistently strong desire to work, persons with TBI continue to experience employment rates that hover around 30%. Nationally, the cost of lost productivity and wages together with the costs associated with care and management of TBI, are estimated to be $22 billion annually.
A peer mentoring program for individuals with brain injury and their families provides an alternative, and much needed, form of support during all phases of adjustment and reintegration into the community. Peer support has been shown to be an effective buffer for stress, in both the individual with brain injury and their families. It has also been shown to increase one’s sense of personal empowerment and self-efficacy. With appropriate education and specific resources, this translates into successful, valuable lives for both families and individuals living with a brain injury.