Reflection on this year and hope for 2022
By Rob Music, Chief Executive, The Migraine Trust
As 2021 ends, I’ve been reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to 2022 and what the charity needs to focus on, so we can best support and campaign for people affected by migraine.
It goes without saying that this has been another extraordinarily challenging year for all of us, having to reset how we live our lives, be that work, social activities or connecting with friends and family. And for those affected by migraine you told us how you have been further impacted, be that challenges to seeing a specialist, accessing treatments, or how for many of you, your physical and mental health has worsened.
Despite what you have all been going through, your support over the last year has been remarkable. Thank you to everyone who helped the community in the last year, whether it was sending a letter to your MP or local newspaper to let them know about problems in migraine healthcare, attending an event to increase understanding of migraine, supporting other people with migraine on social media, telling someone about our website and helpline, or making a donation to allow our vital work to continue.
Need for change
There are too many inequities with migraine, be that investment in specialisms, public understanding, diagnosis, the care pathway or access to appropriate treatments. When I joined the charity in February, I was clear there needed to be change, that we had to be more collaborative, evidenced driven, increase our influence and be a voice for you.
This is why I wanted the charity to launch our report Dismissed for too long, which highlighted a wide range of issues and made 16 recommendations that could significantly improve the lives for those affected, as well as the NHS and state. Feedback on the report has been positive from all key stakeholders, whilst at a political level I have already had a number of meetings with parliamentarians across the UK, including Scotland’s’ Health Minister. But this is just the start.
As we move into 2022, we must expand and strengthen our influencing role if we are to see real change, be that lobbying government for improvements to migraine healthcare to increasing the number of political ‘migraine champions’, holding events at all four parliaments, playing a key role in the development of new patient pathways, and ensuring local health providers have a greater focus on improving migraine care and offering better accessing to calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antibody treatments.
I also want to see the charity supporting more people. With 10 million affected we know we must reach more in the way they need us. This year, we have seen a 200% increase in people accessing our services, which is positive. But I want us to build on this next year, be that looking at how we can better utilise technology or better reach those we currently don’t, such as younger people, those who are marginalised or from different community groups.
A key year ahead
So, although we have taken some positive steps this year, 2022 feels an important one as we push for real change, be that through influence, ensuring we are truly supporting everyone affected by migraine, raising public understanding, breaking down the too many myths and stigmas out there and ensuring equity in the workplace or education.
And with new migraine treatments likely to be introduced , we should look forward to next year and beyond with positivity. Change can take time to happen, and I know that can be frustrating. But with a clear plan, I believe we are on the right path, and with this community, I know that we have the right people to make it happen.
Wishing you all the very best for 2022,