By 2050, more than 115.4 million people around the world are expected to be suffering from dementia. The most in-depth study on dementia to date was released last week by Alzheimer's Disease International, an umbrella organisation of national Alzheimer associations around the world, and the forecast is ominous. As developing countries are factored into these studies, the real impact of the brain-destroying disease is being realised. And while suffering from mental ill-health can be quite testing for a person, matters get worse if society is not open to providing the needed assistance to patients. Do you think we are ready to provide a life of dignity to people suffering from dementia and other mental problems? Or is the lack of awareness going to create more problems for patients in the future?
Many believe that dementia is a normal part of ageing.
Dementia is entirely a clinical illness. At some point in time it may be because of ageing, too. But we couldn't claim that it is a normal part of ageing as that conveys the wrong message. A person's failing memory can't make him or her aged. While I do realise that dementia is more common in the geriatric population, it might come up in any stage of adulthood.
We term the elderly people as suffering from dementia purely because of our mindset towards elderly relatives. If dementia is due to age, there are numerous heads of state, chief executives and scientists who are elderly, yet they decide the future of coming generations. It is just today's generation, which has the mindset that their elderly are not up to date and associate dementia with ageing.
Mohammad Neyaz Sarwar
Most people do believe that dementia is a normal part of ageing, but I know that it can set in at any age. Also, some of the symptoms of dementia are common among the larger population, even if they do not suffer from the problem. Many of us are burdened with responsibilities and keep struggling to match the pace of things happening around us. Most get stressed out and become stubborn or stressed.
Many people presume that the elderly continue to lose their ability to remember things as they age. Such stereotypes are due to a lack of awareness about the symptoms of dementia. I do know of a few elderly people who suffer from memory loss, but it is not complete - they struggle to remember just a few things happening in their lives. People need to be more accommodating.
In most Eastern societies mental ill health is a hidden issue.
'Being mad' is never a good sign in an Eastern society. There is hardly any awareness on the various psychological problems a person may face, and the mentally ill often end up becoming something to point at. In the UAE, I have found society to be more accepting of those with mental problems, and there is help available right from the school level. There is awareness and a lot of support from the government, too.
The pressures in an Eastern society are just too much for a person to handle. They are unable to reach out to others who might require special attention. In the Western world, people take the time and effort to give them more freedom to work within their limitations. I've lived in the UAE and here people have many more opportunities available, even if they suffer from certain mental problems.
I come from Yemen and have lived in Saudi Arabia, too. While there is a tendency among youngsters to tease their peers who may have mental problems, generally people are very accepting. A family friend suffers from Alzheimer's disease, which has been passed on to his children, too. While he faces some problems at work, he receives a lot of assistance from his colleagues as well as neighbours.
I come from Russia and people in my country are very accepting of those with mental illnesses. However, in any culture, I feel it is more [of] an individual decision than culture, which matters. There is nothing wrong in accepting that a family member or a friend is suffering from a mental problem... they should not shy away from seeking our help because of our biases and behaviour.
Annual psychiatric evaluation should be mandatory in an employee's health cover.
Psychometric evaluation is beneficial for both employees as well as employers. But making it mandatory will create unnecessary stress and tension among employees. The widespread stigma associated with mental illness will in turn create frustration, low self-esteem, shame and discrimination at work. It is the right of every individual to be healthy - physically and mentally.
Work life creates a lot of pressure nowadays, and there are many who are unable to handle it very well. They need counselling to balance their professional and personal lives and not succumb to pressures of a hectic lifestyle. Psychiatric evaluations would be a good tool to help people. Even in everyday life, if you come under too much pressure, you may suffer from depression.
It might be good to have psychiatric evaluation as the work environment is quite stressful, especially with the current insecurity in the global job market. However, I doubt it would be practical for companies to provide such a health cover, or even if it is needed. Probably, the best solution would be to provide optional coverage on such evaluations and tests.
Why would I want to go for a psychiatric evaluation if I'm totally sound? Yes, if people would voluntarily like to go for such tests, that's fine. They can opt for it, if they think they have problems, or if others feel they need it. I would advise people to relax whenever they get the chance, and never take work home. Many tend to be stressed about work even when they are on holiday.
Most people are struggling with some form of mental problem due to lack of awareness.
Mental health is an enormously complicated subject. It is not easily identifiable, but can be crippling and demoralising. We live in a time that appears to be designed to cause stress. Economic depression, job insecurity, family problems, too many ambitions, fraud or scams are all cause for stress. There is a difference between the feeling of depression and the actual disease.
Most people ignore symptoms of mental illness, not because they don't care, but due to personal biases or probably a lack of awareness. One's environment also makes a big difference, as people who live in a stressful environment are prone to more mental problems. A fast-paced life can cause a lot of stress, leading to minor psychological issues. But all that is needed is balance.
Eman Al Zubair
I've met many people with mental problems, as I worked at an old people's home. I don't think there is a lack of awareness, even when it comes to the elderly. There are many youngsters who also suffer from mental illnesses. Also, I feel that women tend to suffer from more mental problems than men. I guess the pressures of running a home takes a toll on a lot of women.
One's environment makes a lot of difference, as I feel the information on mental problems is very sketchy and vague. Many are not aware of the differences between one mental condition and another. There is also not enough done in terms of discussion within the society. This creates an atmosphere that is quite the opposite of what should be. People should be able to ask for help.