Today is Mental health day, started 15 years ago, and whilst not necessarily something to celebrate, it is positive that we are talking about and thinking about mental health as almost everyone has been impacted by mental health issues personally, or someone they know has. As dementia comes under the umbrella of mental health at the WHO, I’m currently in Geneva representing Dementia Alliance International attending the 2017 mhGAP forum.
As dementia comes under the umbrella of mental health at the WHO, and is in that health category in most countries, it is important we have a voice here.
The WHO launched an App yesterday during the forum, which you can download for your iPhone from the Apple store. It will be available for Android phones soon as well. The image on the left is a screen shot from the App store.
Being under the umbrella of mental health is actually an issue for me, as technically dementia is not a mental health problem but rather, is a neurological condition, and it keeps the myth alive that dementia is a mental health issue.
It also means we experience double stigma, as mental health is still quite stigmatised, and dementia is even more so.
Some people with dementia do have mental health issues, but so do, for example, people with heart disease, cancer or diabetes. But not to be under that umbrella at the WHO, would mean that people living in Low and Middle Income countries would not receive any health care, so for now, it needs to stay under that umbrella.
In thinking about mental health, and because dementia comes under that umbrella, I wanted to close todays blog thinking about dementia more positively. I recently posted a blog on my Living Beyond Dementia™ website, the first one for some time, as I truly believe it is an exciting time for people with dementia. This is not because we are any closer to a cure nor any disease modifying drugs for dementia than we were ten years ago, but because of the increasing amounts of risk reduction evidence, and the research and programs that are reversing or significantly slowing down dementia. You can read my blog about it here…
I am a realist, and am also sick of the media articles claiming this or that trial is about to be the cure for dementia. This is misleading, and gives people who are often feeling desperate, a false sense of hope. It is unkind, to say the least! It is why I work so hard for change, and am so excited about Bredesens’s research and new book, which I am half way through.