June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Did you know that was a thing?
Well, it is. So many people who suffer migraines feel like they are alone. So much of the world doesn’t understand how migraines affect migraineurs. They may have never heard the term migraineurs before!
Now is your chance to teach friends and family more about your health and educate yourself at the same time. Also, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month is just as much about building community as it is about awareness and education.
You have a chance to meet others with the same problems as you. You can find others who really understand you. This year’s theme is You Need Community. It reflects the collaboration of patient advocates and recognizes the 50 years that the National Headache Foundation has served this community.
Migraine Awareness Month
Recognized by the federal government as a National Health Observance, National Migraine Awareness Month is the brainchild of the National Headache Foundation.
Started in 2012, the observance quickly grew from one week annually into a global phenomenon celebrated throughout June. It includes the support of an umbrella group, the Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients (CHAMP), under which numerous organizations gather to coordinate and elucidate migraine month activities information.
Tagged as #MHAM, the observance brings together the full headache, migraine, and cluster communities to help the world recognize these diseases. It includes:
- Raising public knowledge
- Addressing the stigma
- Building a stronger community of patient advocates
The audience includes those living with headache illness, caregivers, and the public.
Here in the United States, events and gatherings are planned for specific dates.
- June 1st - Wear Purple to Work and Shine Purple on Migraine Awareness
- June 6th - D-Day Veterans with Headache Disease
- June 7th - Remembrance Day
- June 21st - Father’s Day and Promoting Headache Disease in Men
- June 21st - Shades for Migraine
- June 29th - Chronic Migraine Awareness Day
This year, the observances, such as the Miles for Migraines walks and runs, are primarily virtual to honor social distancing guidelines.
Now is the time to advocate for migraineurs, spread the word about living with migraines, and promoting research efforts and mentorship.
Migraine Awareness Groups and Events
Across the United States and in other countries, migraine awareness groups are planning events designed to highlight living with migraine and provide information on how to help.
- Miles for Migraine is an event held in various cities to raise funds and awareness for local healthcare facilities and research. For example, Miles for Migraine in Cincinnati gathers donations for the UC Health Headache Center and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Headache Center.
- The Shades for Migraine Challenge, led by the Association of Migraine Disorders, asks everyone to show they care for the 1 billion people living with migraine across the globe by wearing shades (sunglasses).
- #RallyAgainstMigraine is planned for June 29, the last Monday in June. Sponsored by Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc., the observance fights stigma and raises awareness.
- This year’s slogan is Shine a Light. Shine-a-Light asks you to light up your porch in purple on June 29.
How to Participate
June 1st was Headache at Work Day. Although the date for this year has passed, you can still put on your purple and help spread the word about migraine and headache illness.
If you noticed a predominance of purple clothing on June 1, now you know why. You have plenty of time to wear purple for the rest of the month since that is the official color of Migraine and Headache Awareness Month.
On Jun 6th, D-Day veterans were remembered, especially those who suffered headache disease. Next year, you can help by adding awareness to headache diseases in veterans when you participate in D-Day 2021 events.
June 7th, MHAM observed Remembrance Day for those no longer with us.
According to the NHAM website, “Today we remember those who we’ve lost to headache, migraine and cluster diseases. The invisible nature of chronic pain means that people often do not realize its effect on the human spirit and someone’s will to live. We recognize those whose stories of lost hope propel our efforts to create a better future for people who live with headache disease.”
Next year, you can help by adding awareness to headache diseases in veterans when you participate in Remembrance Day events in 2021.
From June 17th through June 25th, you can help raise funds through Miles for Migraines. Check for your community’s dates for the local Miles for Migraine event. Check milesformigraine.org to find an event near you.
Since many in-person events have been canceled, you can participate virtually in the Chicago event.
June 21st is Father’s Day this year. Even though the majority of migraines are reported by women, men also suffer from headache disease. Use this day to shine a light on men who suffer from migraines.
Also, June 21st is Shades for Migraine. Participants are asked to wear a pair of shades and post a photo with the hashtag #ShadesForMigraine. Then challenge three friends to participate, as well.
Shades for Migraine also posted a petition you can sign to show support for effective and accessible treatment at an affordable price. The goal is 50,000 signatures by the end of the year. To learn more or get involved, go to shadesformigraine.org.
June 29th marks #RallyAgainstChronicMigraine day.
Rally is the monkey mascot for the group Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc. You can purchase tattoos, ribbons, and pennants with the Rally Against Chronic Migraine slogan. No clapping or ringing bells for this crowd. Too much noise can trigger migraines and headaches.
On the evening of June 29, turn on your purple light to show support for the cause. From Shine-a-Light, you are asked to replace the regular bulb on your porch or in your window with a purple one or create a purple shade or filter. Light up your porch purple to show your community.
A Final NotE
You don’t have to participate only in June. You can volunteer to raise funds and awareness for the group of your choice throughout the year. Identify and write your elected representatives or engage with them on Twitter. Set up or attend Facebook Live events about migraines.
If you are a migraineur, rest assured, you are not alone. If you are a friend, family member, co-worker, or individual who just wants to learn more, check out #MHAM on social media and visit the National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month website.