Let’s stop stigma – And change mental health

£66m dementia research funding pledge by UK government

We recently wrote how dementia has been described as the next global health time bomb, with the population of sufferers set to double by 2020 worldwide.

With this in mind it is welcome news that funding for research into dementia is to be doubled to £66 million by 2015 to try to make the UK a world leader in the field.

The UK government is now making ‘dementia a national priority’ according to Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow, with Prime Minister David Cameron set to announce the funding boost shortly.

Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common form, is thought to affect around 800,000 people in the UK with the cost to society estimated at £23billio.

It is expected that over the next decade the population of sufferers will top one million.

In a speech, Mr Cameron will set out plans to step up research into cures and treatments, and to ensure that the health and social care systems are equipped to deal with the problem.

Mr Cameron will say: "One of the greatest challenges of our time is what I'd call the quiet crisis, one that steals lives and tears at the hearts of families, but that relative to its impact is hardly acknowledged. Dementia is simply a terrible disease. And it is a scandal that we as a country haven't kept pace with it.”

"The level of diagnosis, understanding and awareness of dementia is shockingly low. It is as though we've been in collective denial."

"We did it with cancer in the 70s. With HIV in the 80s and 90s. We fought the stigma, stepped up to the challenge and made massive in-roads into fighting these killers.

"Now we've got to do the same with dementia. This is a personal priority of mine, and it's got an ambition to match.

Speaking to the BBC, Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said the announcement would mark an "unprecedented step" towards making the UK a world leader in tackling dementia.

Have you been affected by dementia? Please share your story below.

Learn more about dementia and Alzheimer in Ruby’s Room.

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