Homelessness and Traumatic Brain Injuries: Background information when reading The Unsettled

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The Unsettled

A Novel

by Ayana Mathis

The Unsettled by Ayana Mathis X
The Unsettled by Ayana Mathis
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  • Published:
    Sep 2023, 336 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Valerie Morales
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About this Book

Homelessness and Traumatic Brain Injuries

This article relates to The Unsettled

Image of scan showing damage from a mild TBI appearing as bright areas around the perimeter of the brain pointed out by arrows Ava Carson, the protagonist in Ayana Mathis's second novel The Unsettled, is homeless because of domestic violence. At the Glenn Avenue shelter, she can't sleep or eat. She is listless and emotionally paralyzed. Yet Ava never considers that she might have a traumatic brain injury.

Researchers who analyzed data from multiple countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Australia, found that 53% of homeless people experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in their lifetime.

A TBI occurs when the brain suffers a significant blow, often from a fall, a car accident, or a physically violent act. A moderate to severe TBI is defined by "falling unconscious for a minimum of 30 minutes following the injury, or from suffering a visible injury or showing a lingering disability via an MRI scan." Homeless populations are thought to experience TBIs at 2.3 to four times the rate of the non-homeless.

What is complicated for researchers is the nexus ...

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