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Merger ensures new services for Western Australians impacted by brain injury


Merger ensures new services for Western Australians impacted by brain injury

Headwest, also known as the Brain Injury Association of WA, recently announced a merger with Synapse, a national brain injury organisation.


Mr Nick Lonie, Headwest Chairman, said "Synapse provides a broad range of services, many of which Headwest were simply unable to provide.


The planned merger will ensure Headwest's legacy lives on and will ensure more services specifically for Western Australians impacted by brain injury."


Headwest was established in Perth in 1980 by four families, each of whom had a son with an acquired brain injury. 


The Association was established in recognition of the lack of services for individuals with acquired brain injury, their families and carers. 


Funding changes in recent years hindered Headwest's ability to provide important services.


Synapse Acting CEO, Adam Schickerling, said "Synapse has been a voice for people impacted by brain injury for over 30 years.


We have the staff and services in place, so we can offer immediate support to Headwest's membership and to other Western Australians impacted by brain injury."


Synapse provides housing and support, advocacy, information and referral, together with NDIS services.


Mr Schickerling said, "Over 60,000 Western Australians live with a brain injury.


Many of these people will avoid services from general disability providers because they are treated like they have an intellectual disability.


Synapse understands brain injury and its impacts, and that's why our client base has been growing nationally."


Mr Lonie knows the impact of a brain injury first hand.


In 2011, after a night drinking at the pub, he made the fateful decision to travel in the back of a ute home.


"We were thrown of the back of the ute," he said. "I was the lucky one, my friend died."


Mr Lonie's accident resulted in a fractured skull, causing swelling and bleeding on to his brain.


After months of medical care and rehabilitation, Mr Lonie recovered, but he continues to live with some of the day to day effects of an acquired brain injury.


Brain injury is often known as an 'invisible disability' because there are often no physical signs.


"It can be tough when you leave the hospital system," he said.


"People don't understand what you're going through and there's not much support, which is why I became involved with Headwest."


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