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Trust pledges support to national Dementia Friends campaign

07 May 2014

West London Mental Health NHS Trust is backing the new Dementia Friends campaign, launched today, aimed at helping people develop a greater understanding of dementia and supporting those living with the condition.

Dementia is the biggest health crisis facing the UK.  According to figures, there are currently 665,065 people in England who have dementia and an estimated twenty one million people have a close friend or family member living with the condition.

Across Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow, it is estimated 6,046 people will have dementia in 2014. By 2020, the number of cases is expected to rise to 7,004.  The Dementia Friends campaign, launched by Public Health England and Alzheimer’s Society, encourages people to pledge their support.

Dr Sujoy Mukherjee, consultant psychiatrist and clinical lead for dementia at the West London Mental Health NHS Trust, said:  “One in three of us over the age of 65 will develop dementia – an incredibly high statistic. But people with dementia can live well, and it is the responsibility of the rest of the community to help them do so.”

Dr Mukherjee added: “It is only by personally understanding the issues that people living with dementia face, can we fully appreciate the challenges they have to overcome on a day-to-day basis. This is why West London Mental Health NHS Trust, as part of a national drive, is pledging to ensure every member of staff has at least a basic awareness of dementia.

“We’ve also started a strong internal awareness drive to ensure all staff are aware of the campaign and to assist them to become friends if they wish to.”

Dementia Friends is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative launched in 2013 aimed at increasing understanding and awareness of the condition. The new campaign aims to raise awareness and help create a network of one million Dementia Friends across England by 2015.

As part of the campaign, adverts will appear on TV and online from today (7 May 2014).

For further information on the campaign and how to become a Dementia Friend, please visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk.

For more information, contact Simon Morgan, external communications manager: 020 8354 8325 / simon.morgan@wlmht.nhs.uk.

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