How to Spread Epilepsy Awareness

Epilepsy affects about 3.4 million people in the United States, including 470,000 children. Despite this number, misinformation and stigma about epilepsy persist. Spreading awareness about epilepsy is one way to help others understand the condition and to advocate for the needs of people with epilepsy.

This neurological condition can cause seizures (bursts of abnormal electrical activity in the brain). Experiencing a seizure does not necessarily mean a person has epilepsy. While 1 in 10 people will have a seizure of some type in their lifetime, 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy.

This article will discuss the importance of epilepsy awareness and what you can do to help.

Hand holding a purple epilepsy awareness ribbon against sky

Sewcream / Getty Images

Epilepsy Awareness Month

In the United States, November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month (NEAM). Each November, special events, social media campaigns, and other awareness activities are organized to help educate about epilepsy. Groups organize many events, but individuals are encouraged to participate in their own ways.

Canada's Epilepsy Awareness Month is March.

How to Find Local Epilepsy Awareness Events

The Epilepsy Foundation is an international organization with many local chapters throughout the United States, Canada, and other countries. Checking in with your local Epilepsy Foundation or another local epilepsy group is a great way to learn about awareness programs and events being organized for Epilepsy Awareness Month.

For example, Walk to END EPILEPSY events are scheduled throughout the year.

International Epilepsy Day

Since 2015, the second Monday in February has been recognized as International Epilepsy Day. It was dedicated by the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).

Recognized by more than 130 countries, International Epilepsy Day gives people with epilepsy the opportunity to share their experiences with a global audience. It also makes calls to action for legislation that guarantees the human rights of people with epilepsy and advocates for addressing barriers faced by people with epilepsy and their families.

Learn More About Epilepsy

Whether you have epilepsy, know someone with epilepsy, or just want to be better informed, learning about epilepsy is a simple way for you to up your own awareness.

The Epilepsy Foundation offers training and educational programs on epilepsy and seizure first aid. For more information, contact your local Epilepsy Foundation chapter, or visit their Epilepsy Learning Portal.

Talk About It! is an interactive website featuring entertaining videos, celebrity spokespeople, and credible information about epilepsy presented in engaging ways. It is a great resource for learning more about epilepsy.

Statistics About Epilepsy

Statistics about epilepsy include:

  • Epilepsy affects an estimated 65 million people globally.
  • About 3.4 million people in the United States live with epilepsy.
  • About 12 people in 1,000 in the United States are living with active epilepsy.
  • Around 20% to 30% of people with epilepsy have uncontrolled seizures that don't fully respond to medication.
  • About half of the people with epilepsy don't have a known cause of their condition.
  • At least 1 in 1,000 people with epilepsy die each year from sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

Donate to an Epilepsy Organization

Donating to the Epilepsy Foundation helps the organization:

  • Raise awareness
  • Support research for new therapies
  • Advocate and participate with Congress, the states, and the courts
  • Support people with seizures to participate in all life experiences

Ways you can support the Epilepsy Foundation financially include:

  • Making a donation
  • Holding a Facebook fundraiser, selecting Epilepsy Foundation of America as your charitable organization
  • Hosting or fundraising for an event, on your own or through the organization
  • Participating in a local Walk to END EPILEPSY event
  • Joining Athletes vs Epilepsy

Join a Volunteer Group

Look for ways to volunteer in your community. You can start by searching for your local Epilepsy Foundation chapter and contacting them for information.

Other places to volunteer include:

Wear a Purple Ribbon

Purple is the international color of epilepsy awareness. Wear a purple ribbon to show awareness, or get decked out in anything purple.

Learn Seizure First Aid

Knowing what to do (and what not to do) when someone has a seizure is important for the safety of the person having the seizure and those nearby.

The Epilepsy Foundation offers free seizure first aid training on demand through their learning portal.

They also offer a two-year seizure first aid certification program, which teaches you need-to-know info such as how to recognize different seizure types and what to do when they occur.

To provide an instructional visual aid to reference for what to do if someone has a seizure, print and post this seizure first aid poster at school, at work, or in other areas.


Contact your elected representatives. If you have epilepsy, sharing your personal story with them can be very impactful, but you don't need to have epilepsy to fight for the rights of people with epilepsy and raise awareness about disability issues.

Use Social Media to Share Your Experience

Social media can be a powerful tool for spreading accurate information and raising awareness about epilepsy.

Some ways you can use social media to make a difference include:

  • Sharing Talk About It videos.
  • Engaging with the Epilepsy Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
  • Using appropriate hashtags related to epilepsy awareness to extend the reach of your messages on social media, such as #EpilepsyAwareness, #ShareMySeizure, or #AimForZero.
  • Be on the lookout for misinformation about seizures and epilepsy, and provide accurate info when you see inaccuracies.


Despite the high number of people living with epilepsy, it is still an often-misunderstood condition. It's important for people with epilepsy and people in their social circle to raise awareness.

Some ways to help raise awareness about epilepsy include participating in Epilepsy Awareness Month and International Epilepsy Day, making monetary donations, volunteering, fundraising, learning about epilepsy and seizure first aid, wearing purple, advocating for the rights of people with epilepsy, and engaging with social media.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What colors and symbols are used for epilepsy awareness?

    Purple is recognized internationally as the color of epilepsy awareness. A purple ribbon can be worn to show support and raise awareness, but you can also wear purple clothing or accessories.

  • What is Purple Day?

    International Purple Day is on March 26th each year. It was created by then 9-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia to raise awareness about epilepsy.

  • How common is epilepsy?

    About 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime.

12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Epilepsy Foundation. International Epilepsy Day.

  3. Mehndiratta MM, Wadhai SA. International Epilepsy Day - A day notified for global public education & awareness. Indian J Med Res. 2015;141(2):143-144. doi:10.4103/0971-5916.155531

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epilepsy fast facts.

  5. Dalic L, Cook MJ. Managing drug-resistant epilepsy: challenges and solutions. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2016;12:2605-2616. doi:10.2147/NDT.S84852

  6. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Epilepsy and seizures.

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

  8. Epilepsy Foundation. Get involved.

  9. Epilepsy Association of Western and Central PA. How we can help.

  10. Epilepsy Association of Western and Central PA. Raise your voice!

  11. MyEpilepsyTeam. Epilepsy awareness: how to get involved.

  12. Epilepsy Ottawa. Epilepsy awareness month.

By Heather Jones
Heather M. Jones is a freelance writer with a strong focus on health, parenting, disability, and feminism.