Epilepsy Foundation launches Asian American outreach campaign

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An estimated 1.5 percent of Asian Americans live with epilepsy today and one in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. More people live with epilepsy than with autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy--combined.  

Despite the fact that millions of Americans, including many Asian Americans, have this chronic medical condition, and even more know someone who does, there is a continuing lack of understanding about epilepsy across all communities, leading to fear, discrimination and social isolation.

To raise awareness about epilepsy in Asian American communities and to reduce fear and misunderstanding, the Epilepsy Foundation is kicking off a national "26 Days of Epilepsy Awareness and Action" public information campaign. The campaign will include dedicated efforts by local Epilepsy Foundations in Hawaii, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

In the Asian American community, there can be shame, superstition and reluctance to talk about epilepsy or for people with the condition to ask for assistance. Scientific studies, such as a 2011 University of California-Berkeley study, "Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice towards Epilepsy (KAPE) Survey of Chinese and Vietnamese College Students in the U.S.," demonstrate that misunderstandings about epilepsy and discrimination towards people with epilepsy persist.

With knowledge comes understanding, and the Epilepsy Foundation hopes the campaign will help create opportunities for people to talk about epilepsy, get information and alleviate fears that continue to persist about the condition among Asian Americans and in all communities.

As part of the 26-day campaign, the Epilepsy Foundation is encouraging Asian Americans to talk about epilepsy to help change the lives of the millions of people living with the condition and their loved ones for the better. Individuals are encouraged to share their story about how epilepsy and seizures affect them, whether personally, as a caregiver, friend or family member, on the Epilepsy Foundation's Facebook page. In addition, the Foundation will share daily facts about epilepsy and answer questions on Facebook and Twitter at #1in26 and will direct people to information and resources through a new webpage designed for the Asian American community available here.

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