February 2015

Dementia and mental health

This month we’re looking at dementia and mental health issues among older people. Worldwide, 35.6 million people have dementia and there are 7.7 million new cases every year. As we know, dementia and other mental health conditions can have significant implications for your patients’ physical wellbeing, for their carers, and the health services.

On these pages we take a look at articles, tips, tools, guidance and more that can help you tackle some of the challenges dementia and mental health issues among older patients can present.


NHS England’s Clinical Director for Dementia, Professor Alistair Burns CBE, tackles five common myths related to treating patients with dementia. This is a one page summary (pdf) take a look online or print it to share with your team.

Resources relating to dementia and mental health

We’ve assembled a collection of tools and resources, which aim to help you provide better care for older people with dementia and mental health issues. Highlights from these include:

  • Tools and learning

    • – an award-winning film created by nurses at Guys and St Thomas' Hospital to raise awareness of dementia among staff. Watch this with your team to understand what dementia feels like from the patient perspective and think about the changes you can make to improve the dementia care you provide
    • Capacity flowchart. Use this to help you assess a patient’s capacity to make a decision. The tool includes five useful case studies to bring the principles in our guidance to life.

Blogs and opinion pieces

  • – from NHS Clinical Director for Dementia, Professor Alistair Burns CBE
  • – from Emma Woods who was her mother’s main carer throughout her final years

Getting involved

  • There is lots to support you in caring for patients with dementia. provides guidance around building dementia friendly communities.  offers advice and local sessions to help patients and professionals understand dementia better.

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