NHS Foundation Trust supports stopping the stigma for those with dementia and increasing understanding


The local provider of specialist NHS mental health services is supporting a national campaign, launched today, that aims to educate the public about dementia and demonstrate the simple things everyone can do to help people live well with dementia.

The South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides specialist mental health services to the people of Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, is backing the new "Living Well” campaign. The campaign employs real people with dementia who declare ‘I have dementia – I also have a life’.

According to new research one in three people are uncomfortable around people with dementia, said Care Services Minister Phil Hope as he launched the new awareness campaign.

The new MORI poll found that: • A third (32 per cent) of those surveyed said ‘I would find it difficult to spend much time with someone who has dementia’; • 53 per cent said they do not know enough about dementia to help someone who has it; • 81 per cent agreed that some people with dementia can still take part in normal activities.

Phil Hope said, “Dementia doesn’t discriminate and neither should we. Our research shows that too often people fear dementia and this causes them to avoid people with the condition, making them feel isolated and stigmatised. We want to start to break down this stigma and show the simple things you can do to help people live well with dementia."

Steven Michael, chief executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said, "Every year, our Trust helps local people with dementia to live life to the full and we give them access to a variety of treatments and therapies to help them do this. Our Trust is well known for a range of innovative approaches, for example life history work and dance therapy, and we work closely with our partner organisations in health and social care to continually improve the services we are able to offer local people."

Steven continued, "Carers of people with dementia also play a vital role and we are keen to not only involve them in the care of their loved one but also make sure they get the support they need whilst in a demanding, and often very isolated, role.

People with mental health problems (including dementia) and their carers say that stigma and misunderstanding can often be worse than the problems themselves so we are delighted this new campaign has been launched. We hope the campaign will help dispel misunderstanding about dementia, reduce stigma and encourage local people to find out more about dementia.

The campaign will appear on TV, radio, online and in print across England. It asks people to take a moment to find out more about dementia and provides five simple ways to help someone living with the condition: 1. Respect and dignity – focus on what the person can do, not what they can’t. 2. Be a good listener and be friendly – Support and accept the person, be patient. 3. Do one little thing – cook a meal or run an errand, it all helps. 4. Make time for everyone – partners, children and grandchildren will be affected. Could you do something to help one of them? 5. Find out more – understanding dementia makes living with it easier.

Ruth Sutherland, acting chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society said, “People with dementia tell us that, once diagnosed, others begin to act differently or avoid them altogether. This has a huge impact on their lives, but we know that with the right support people can continue to enjoy a good quality of life.”

Steven Michael, Trust chief executive added, "Our Trust has a well known strapline: ‘with all of us in mind’. This phrase could not be truer when it comes to how we must all look at the topic of dementia as it could affect any one of us, our family or friends. With one in three people over 65 developing the condition, it is vital that we all seek to understand it better."

The new ‘Living Well’ campaign backs up the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s local 2010 campaign to ‘stop the stigma’ around mental health problems. Local people are invited to join the Trust’s other 14,000 members and find out more by logging on to www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk or by following the Trust at www.twitter.com/allofusinmind.

NHS Foundation Trust supports stopping the stigma for those with dementia and increasing understanding

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