“Getting help for forgetfulness”: Encouraging timely help-seeking for dementia in Black African and Caribbean families

A project under our mental health theme focuses on improving the care of Black African and Caribbean people with memory problems, which can be an early warning sign for dementia. We know that Black African and Caribbean elders develop dementia earlier, and seek help later than their white peers.

This delay can greatly impact access to care and support, and reduce the independence of dementia patients prematurely.

We have carried out extensive engagement work within this community – running focus groups and conducting interviews to find out the perceptions and beliefs that prevent people visiting their GP when memory problems first arise.

As well as disseminating our findings we have concentrated all the learning from the project into a new leaflet “Getting help for forgetfulness“.

We co-designed this leaflet with patients and the public and it aims to encourage health-seeking behaviour among elders encountering memory problems.

It answers questions about symptoms, sets out what help is available and why you should visit your GP, and provides useful information and contacts.

We trialled the leaflet in patients without a diagnosis of dementia in several GP practices and they liked it.

We can provide printed copies to the NHS, community and voluntary groups and charities – just contact us with your needs.

Email Moïse Roche to order copies of the leaflet – m.roche@ucl.ac.uk

Prof Peter Fonagy

Professor Fonagy is one of the key international figures in the evaluation of mental health interventions. He holds Chairs at UCL, Harvard, Yale and Baylor, and is a NIHR Senior Investigator. In the 1990’s, he co-led the NHS Review of Psychotherapies, evaluating all outcomes data which provided the basis for the radical policy change, Improved Access to evidence-based Psychological Therapies (IAPT), now an important part of the NHS mandate. The report ‘What Works for Whom’ has over 3,000 scholarly citations. Since 2010, he has led the Children and Young People’s Programme for IAPT and achieved a doubling of the Government’s financial commitment to this service transformation programme for CAMHS services to be restructured using evidence based, patient centred therapies. He is a key figure in developing NHS mental health strategy through NICE guidance and chaired the Depression in Children and Young People GDG and co-ordinated the prevention section of guidelines for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Conduct Disorder. He led the development of National Occupational Standards for Psychological Therapies and Chaired the Advisory Group leading to the introduction of routine outcomes assessment in mental health services (HoNOS). He served on several UK Government panels and on the Academic Advisory Board of the Presidential Commission on Violence Prevention, chaired panels at NIMH and the German Research Foundation, and was a UK representative on the Expert Psychological Panel of the European Science Foundation EIRH Programme. He is PI or co-PI on evaluation research programmes in excess of £15M, is Programme Director on the UCLP mental health programme and is leading the largest Clinical Psychology Department and training scheme in the UK, with 150 doctoral students.

Prof Stephen Stansfeld

Prof. Stephen Stansfeld is Professor of Psychiatry at QMUL. His research involves longitudinal studies of risk and protective factors for mental health in adolescence, life course studies of social and environmental risk factors and intervention studies on work and mental health. He is Co-Principal Investigator of ORiEL Study, a NIHR-funded cluster randomised trial of the impact of the regeneration surrounding the Olympics on children’s wellbeing and physical activity.

Professor David Osborne

Professor Osborne’s research focuses on the interface between physical and mental health, psychiatric epidemiology and the provision of effective services for people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. He also works on improving acute care. He has been a clinical academic consultant at UCL since 2003. David also works as a NHS consultant psychiatrist in Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.