May 2013

Dementia and Care News Stories From This Week

Here are a couple of news stories about some revolutionary ways of caring for people in the community and with dementia which we spotted on the BBC News website this week.

The first covers how care homes across Kent are pioneering a new type of dementia therapy using dolls to help support elderly people.

Evidence suggests that encouraging sufferers to care for the dolls can help them cope with the condition and you can view this video story on the BBC News site using the following link Kent care home dolls helping elderly with dementia.

The second story covers a new approach to community care in the Netherlands which means patients need 30 to 40 per cent fewer hours of care.

The teams of district nurses nurses staffing the project each serve a neighbourhood of about 10,000 people and run themselves with no managers.

They're available round-the-clock and - working closely with GPs - organise all the supporting care. To read the story in full please use the following link Dutch district nurses rediscover 'complete care' role.

There are currently just over 42,700 people living with dementia in Wales and it's important to note that the effect on the individual is different in each case.

Much work has taken place in Wales recently to identify the areas that need to be addressed to improve the lives of those with and affected by dementia.

This has led to the creation of the National Dementia Vision for Wales which provides a long-term vision to ensure  Wales can best meet the challenge of an increasing number of people living with dementia across the country.

If you have any questions about WaMH in PC's work with dementia in Wales please contact us via email at or on 029 2050 4516.

Details of WaMH in PC Annual Conference for 2013 Announced

We're pleased to announce details of their forthcoming annual conference which is part of our work to promote primary mental health care issues and improve the profile of mental health services in Wales.

We're delivering this year's conference in conjunction with primhe (Primary Care Mental Health and Education) and it's called ‘The Really Useful Conference’.

The event will be held at Cheltenham Racecourse on Wednesday 9 October later this year and will look at how the well-being of staff and patients can be improved in general practice.

Our target audience is wide ranging but our focus is to bring mental health practitioners and professionals, policy makers, agencies and organisations together so they can work in collaboration.

Our annual conferences provide excellent opportunities for you to network, meet new people, form new alliances and take part in some exciting, thought-provoking and informative plenary sessions and workshops.

We'll be releasing further information about the event over the coming weeks but if you'd like to express an interest in attending please contact Lesley Hills via email at or on 029 2050 4516.

GPs Require Extra Funding To Hit Government's Dementia Targets

The RCGP has warned that GPs need extra funding to hit the Government's dementia diagnosis targets and patients must not have early diagnoses ‘forced’ upon them.

In an article for the Pulse website RCGP Chair Professor Clare Gerada said some patients will find it distressing to receive an early diagnosis and should not be cajoled into having assessments.

Her comments followed Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s call to increase ‘shockingly low’ dementia diagnosis rates in England from 45% to 66% by 2015.

The RCGP has backed the Government’s subsequent drive - announced earlier this week - to boost dementia diagnosis rates by 50% and Professor Gerada said: "GPs are committed to improving the care we provide to patients with dementia - and we acknowledge that earlier and more accurate diagnosis can enable people with dementia and their families to make more informed choices and decisions about their future care, whilst they still have the capacity to do so."

GPs have been offered a controversial DES - for dementia case-finding - that will involve practices opportunistically offering an assessment for dementia to ‘at-risk’ patients during routine consultations.

For further details please read the RCGP backs drive to boost dementia rates by 50% news article on the Pulse website.

Dementia is currently an increasingly important issue in Wales as well and there are currently just over 42,700 people living with the condition across the country.

This has recently led to the creation of the National Dementia Vision for Wales which provides a long-term vision to ensure  Wales can best meet the challenge of this increasing number of people living with dementia within our borders.

If you have any questions about WaMH in PC's work with dementia in Wales please contact us via email at or on 029 2050 4516.

Mental Health of Carers Hits Headlines Ahead of National Campaign

The mental health of carers hit the headliners over the weekend after the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said they should be routinely screened for signs of depression.

RCGP Chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada explained to the BBC how carers were at a very high risk group for both physical and mental health issues during an interview on the BBC News Channel - Carers at high risk of depression, say doctors' leaders.

Following Dr Gerada's interview several viewers contacted the BBC to relate their own experiences of being a carer which at times meant they made difficult decisions regarding their own health - 'I was in tears': Carers tell their stories.

The Guardian website and then Sky News published their own versions of the story which you can read via the following links:

This all hit the media just ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week which lasts until Sunday (19 May) with this year's campaign concentrating on the positive effects which physical activity can have on mental well-being

For further information about this year's campaign please visit the Mental Health Foundation website.

Physical Activity and Exercise - Mental Health Awareness Week 2013

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week with this year's campaign themed around physical activity and well-being.

For one week each May, the Mental Health Foundation campaigns around a specific theme for Mental Health Awareness Week.

This year's campaign runs until this Sunday (19 May) and will be highlighting the impact exercise has on mental health and wellbeing.

Exercise can do a lot to enhance our happiness and quality of life and as a result reduce mental illness and there are a host of events planned for the coming week which support this idea.

Since the first Mental Health Awareness Week in 2000 the campaign has helped explain to the public how things like loneliness, anger, fear, alcohol and friendship can influence our mental health.

For further information about this year's campaign please visit the Mental Health Awareness Week page on the Mental Health Foundation website.

Charity Seeking Mental Health First Aiders For Wales

A national charity is looking for people to become trainers in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) within Wales.

Mind Cymru would like to hear from anyone interested in taking the MHFA (Wales) course which teaches people how to provide initial help and support to anyone experiencing mental health problems.

There are currently more than 10,000 mental health first aiders across the country and the organisation is looking for people to join its existing team of Welsh instructors.

The charity is particularly keen to hear from men, Welsh speakers, people over 50, people from Black Minority Ethnic backgrounds and anyone who considers themselves to be disabled.

Training to become an adult MHFA instructor starts between now and June with the youth courses set to start in June and July.

For further information please read the Could you teach Mental Health First Aid (Wales)? page on the Mind Cymru website or for more details about MHFA please visit the Mental Health First Aid (Wales) website.

Welsh Assembley Launches National Mental Health Campaign

The Welsh Assembley and various national charities are launching a groundbreaking mental health campaign allowing people to literally air their views about mental health across Wales.

Over the summer the Lights! Camera! ACTION! campaign will give mental health service users and carers the opportunity to record messages and share their experiences of mental health services on film.

As part of the campaign, people will be produce their own video blogs pointing local services and national policy makers to good practice in mental health service delivery and flag up local deficits in delivery.

Service users and carers will talk to camera about what changes they want to see in services with the help of the campaign which is due to set up a mobile studio at 22 locations across Wales over the coming months.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM will launch the service user and carer-led national campaign at the Pierhead Building today (9 May) with the campaign set to conclude with a red-carpet event at the Senedd on World Mental Health Day in October.

Lights! Camera! ACTION! is supported by mental health charities Bipolar UK, Hafal and the Mental Health Foundation with further information available on the Lights! Camera! ACTION! Campaign page on the Hafal website.

Free Online Services and Resources for Doctors and Medical Students

If you're a GP or medical student you might want to take a look at which is a free network used by more than 40,000 doctors eeach week. is an active network of GMC authenticted doctors which has nearly 200,000 members offering a range of online resources and services.

If you are a doctor all you need to sign up is your GMC registration details and if you're a medical student just have details of your medical school and course to hand.

The site offers a 24-hour forum which connects doctors right across the UK , an online journal, case report and medical image library, around 240 free, accredited online training modules and excluse medical news and job alerts alongside research facilities and monthly podcasts covering key medical events.

Members also receive an exclusive, free-to-use email account using the domain which - unlike other web-based email services - is accepted in NHS Trusts.

For further details about what the site has to offer or if you would like to join please visit the Members Benefit page.