Association of Mental Health Providers

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The Interface Between Dementia and Mental Health

This review, by the MHPF and the Mental Health Foundation, aims to to explore the relationship between dementia, mental health and mental health problems.

The main finding of this review is that co-morbidities are underdiagnosed in people living with dementia, not extensively researched and therefore not understood fully. The relationship between dementia and mental health problems is not well documented, and extensive searching found relatively little literature on the challenges or experiences associated with living with this co-morbidity.

Based on our review of the available information, we have produced the following recommendations:

Policy level

  • Co-produce a mental health and dementia research programme with people with lived experience of this co-morbidity, their families and carers.
  • Develop data systems to ensure mental health and dementia data can be analysed in an integrated and strategic manner to inform provision, policy and research.
  • Develop policy and practice guidance on the mental health needs of people living with dementia.
Organisation level
  • Develop relationships between mental health and dementia representative organisations and the wider disability movement; and advocate for the inclusion of people living with mental health problems and dementia within the UN review of the UK’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Dementia.
  • Develop a rights based approach to health and social care provision for people living with mental health problems and dementia, and their families and carers.
Programme level
  • Develop a programme to pilot social inclusion and community based interventions, and to scale and test promising approaches.
  • Develop programmes of provision, guidance, policy and research for people with early onset dementia; and scale and test promising approaches.
  • Ensure that co-production principles and approaches are adopted across all provision, policy, research developments and resource the work of representative organisations such as the Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project and the Dementia Alliance for Culture.
  • Develop programmes of provision, guidance, policy and research for members of BAME communities; and scale and test promising approaches.