Migraine & Headache Awareness Blog Challenge 13 – “Faces of Migraine”

  • Migraine and headache videos can be found all over the web, but few reliable videos will catch the attention of people that don't have migraine. I decided it was time an interesting, truthful video was made about migraine that would target those who don't know enough about the condition, not just another video that talks to other migraine patients. Awareness is not about preaching to the choir - it's about talking to those who don't understand it today.


    The Faces of Migraine Project was born with this in mind. More than a hundred volunteers from all over the country helped by sending in their photos and stories, allowing us to pick and choose the shocking statistics that would hopefully catch the attention of the intended audience: those who don't understand what it is like to live with migraine. Patients opened their lives up so you and I could use their images and stories to make our world a better place.

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    Are we mis-using awareness month and projects like this?


    Although we first posted the video during awareness month, 2013, and re-posted it after the 36 Million Campaign was announced so we could help with that awareness too, it is still most likely to be shared among migraine patients.


    When I asked patients why they weren't sharing the video in places non-patients would see it, most seemed embarrassed to do so because they didn't want to be identified as a migraineur, due to stigma.


    This is a problem.


    How can we make people without migraine understand life with migraine, if we don't tell them?


    Who is going to tell people what life with migraine is like, if not us - the patients?


    We hoped there would be public awareness annnoucements (PSAs)on television and radio for the upcoming American Headache and Migraine Association (AHMA) National Conference in two weeks in Los Angeles - a GREAT place to find gobs of patients who would want the opportunity to hear our amazing speakers, but something happened, and it resulted in nearly all the advertising going straight to patients who are already seeing migraine and headache specialists. While this is a great starting point, those who need this information the most are not already seeing a specialist - we ended up preaching to the choir again!


    Creating awareness is about stepping out of our comfort zone. That is the only way we're going to make progress. Sharing posts and videos among other patients is great, and sometimes we're lucky and it ends up in the hands of someone who needs it, but I'm often frustrated when I see patients consider themselves active in the awareness campaign, without talking to anyone who actually needs to be made aware!




    My challenge to you is to share this video, or any of the other posts you've seen during awareness month, with someone who needs to know these shocking statistics. Let's stop preaching to the choir and tell someone who needs the information!


    My son did most of the technical work on the video - he too has migraine and understands the importance of reducing stigma and creating awareness. Our goal was to make it appear un-assuming and real because it's coming from real patients and real people. No names are used in hopes viewers will look at the person next to them in the grocery line and wonder, are they a patient too? We were shocked when we were approached to make the project even bigger, and I hope you'll stay tuned for that, because I think it's going to be amazing.


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    There are two keys to making awareness videos worth watching - correct information, and information that can be shared to those without migraine. The video includes footage from those lost to migraine, as well as faces of some that have figured out how to manage them. Migraine is a spectrum, and we hope that was reflected.


    Live your best life,



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    © Ellen Schnakenberg, 2014.
    Last updated June 13, 2014.

Published On: June 14, 2014