Migraine Australia has launched a campaign to get migraine ‘out of the dark’ and on to the national agenda for the next federal election.
Migraine is a complex genetic neurological disorder that has a wide spectrum of presentations. Migraine can be significantly disabling and costs the Australian economy an estimated $35b a year. Despite this, migraine is frequently dismissed as ‘just a headache’ and as a result is one of the most under-diagnosed, under-treated, and under-funded conditions in the country.
Migraine Australia, the only patient body for migraine in the country, has been advocating hard for better recognition and support in the two years since the organisation was founded. The Out of the Dark campaign has been launched to coincide with the ramp up to the next federal election to put migraine firmly on the agenda as part of the election debate.
Founder of Migraine Australia, Dr Raphaella Kathryn Crosby, says the campaign is not about telling people with migraine who to vote for, but it is about reminding every candidate and party that people with migraine can, quite literally, decide the election.
“There are five million Australians living with migraine - that’s 20% of the vote, or the entire margin of victory in most seats.
“Of course, most of them won’t decide their vote on migraine alone, but we hope that they will include migraine in their thinking when they decide who to vote for.
“Every candidate and every party that wants to win should develop a position on migraine, because our condition is not partisan, and every candidate could lose votes if they don’t speak to our issues,” Dr Crosby said.
Migraine Australia has identified six things they would like to see the new government do, regardless of whether that government is the Coalition returned or the Labor Party victorious. They are:
- Funding for migraine research
- A national strategy for managing migraine
- Raising awareness of migraine
- Improve the management of migraine at work
- Improve access to migraine care
- Support for the migraine community
Dr Crosby said many people who live with migraine, browbeaten by a lifetime of intense stigma, will not feel comfortable putting migraine ahead of urgent considerations like COVID-19.
“The pandemic will end, but migraine will always be with us, and elections are about the future.
“The Out of the Dark campaign is not about saying other important issues don’t matter, just that migraine matters too, and we’d like our fair share for a change.
As part of the campaign there will be a survey of candidates to find out what their personal knowledge and understanding of the condition is, and candidates who live with migraine are warmly invited to do a video interview with the team that will be shared on the Migraine Australia website and social media.
More details are available from the Migraine Australia website www.migraine.org.au/outofthedark
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