Brain Injury Support Groups

By Andrea Trotta Gagliano, MS, CRC, LPC, Research Coordinator, Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, Kessler Foundation

Whether you are a brain injury survivor or a caregiver, your world has forever been changed. You likely face many challenges, have many concerns, and may be unsure how to navigate this “new normal.” You may also feel alone. Finding the right support and resources is critical. And one of the best resources for both survivors and caregivers is a support group.

Peer support groups bring together individuals who share a common condition or situation. More specifically, brain injury support groups focus on the scope of emotional, psychological, behavioral, and social consequences of injury. They provide a forum for discussing challenges, exchanging ideas, and sharing the strategies. According to Neil Jasey, MD, Director of Brain Injury Services at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, “Having a solid support network is critical for survivors and caregivers alike. Both report similar feelings of isolation, sadness, anxiety, stress, and depression, and may even feel stigmatized. While brain injury survivors and caregivers each have their own context and perspective, the need for resources and support services are imperative for both.”  

So, why attend a support group? Important benefits include the opportunity to:

  • Talk openly about feelings
  • Learn coping skills and strategies
  • Explore problem-solving ideas
  • Improve feelings of acceptance and validation
  • Reduce isolation
  • Share practical suggestions with peers
  • Gain perspective on your own situation

Fortunately, in New Jersey, you do not have to look far for a support group. The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey (BIANJ), a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life after brain injury, offers free resources to survivors and caregivers, including 20 support groups across 17 counties. If you are interested in trying a support group, go for it! You can attend more than one group, and you are not limited to groups close to home. Some groups even have separate meetings for caregivers. For more information on the locations and details of each group, please visit

Learn More:
Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey (BIANJ)

Shannon O’Connor, Community Resource Specialist
732-745-0200, Ext. 232