Don't forget dementia on World Mental Health Day

Media Release

Saturday 10 October 2015

Don’t forget dementia on World Mental Health Day

On World Mental Health Day it is timely to acknowledge that dementia - the second leading cause of death in Australia - is one of the most significant mental health conditions facing Australia.

Many people are not aware that dementia is a mental health issue.  Dementia also often presents with comorbidities such as depression and anxiety which need to be managed together. Depressive symptoms occur in approximately 40-50% of people with Alzheimer’s disease. There is a view that depression in midlife  could indicate increased risk of dementia in later life.

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO, Carol Bennett said World Mental Health Day was a great opportunity for all of us to think about the mental health risks that face people living with dementia.

“Each week there are more than 1,800 new cases of dementia in Australia[1].  We need to be prepared to respond to this growing number of people, to ensure that our ageing Australians can reach out for support when they experience depression, loneliness, anxiety and other behavioural and psychological symptoms,” Ms Bennett said.

Alzheimer’s Australia encourages a holistic approach to wellbeing. Our Your Brain Matters Program emphasises how preventive health measures can benefit your mental health, These include:

  • remaining as socially active and engaged in the community as possible

  • following a healthy diet and not smoking

  • engaging in physically activities

  • mentally challenging the brain.

“People with dementia experience stigma and misunderstanding in the community, and within our health and aged care systems.  We need to raise awareness and show more understanding to people with dementia.  We want all Australians to be able to live with dignity for as long as possible in their communities.  On World Mental Health Day, maybe we could all offer a little more patience and support to those struggling to stay connected – it will make a world of difference.” Ms Bennett said.

For more information on mental health visit: http://mhaustralia.org/

 

[1] Access Economics (2009) Keeping Dementia Front of Mind: Incidence and prevalence 2009-2050. Report for Alzheimer’s Australia.

 


Media enquiries:

Bianca Armytage | 0407 019 430 | bianca.armytage@alzheimers.org.au


Alzheimer’s Australia is the peak body representing people with dementia and their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. More than 342,800 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than half a million by 2030.


National Dementia Helpline: 1800 100 500

An interpreter service is available
(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)
Dementia is a National Health Priority Area


Media resources and additional information