Importance of Awareness

Focusing on the shame and discrimination surrounding mental health, health professionals and everyone, even people who do not feel concerned by such diseases need to rise to the challenge posed by mental and brain disorders. In that spirit, an initiative aiming at motivating people to better understand the disease and its effects on society was initiated by the World Health Organization who has selected as theme for World Health Day 7 April 2001: Mental Health. More initiatives should be originated throughout the globe, as you may know the world’s population is ageing.

Statistics indicate that there are currently an estimated 24 million people in the world with dementia. More than 66% of those people live in developing countries. The numbers are increasing more and more every year, by 2025 the above figure is expected to rise to nearly 75%. In 22 years, 34 million people will have dementia.

Some statistics refer to almost 30,000 cases of Alzheimer’s disease in Lebanon. Awareness must be induced in all societies; silence surrounding mental diseases should be broken before it is too late.In the United States, national direct and indirect annual costs of caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are at least $100 billion, according to estimates used by the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging.Alzheimer’s disease costs American business $61 billion a year, according to a report commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Association. Of that figure, $24.6 billion covers Alzheimer health care and $36.5 billion covers costs related to caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, including lost productivity, absenteeism and worker replacement.

What about the developing countries, where dementia is the most frequent? More efforts should be set off, we need to rise to the challenge and prepare our societies to face mental disorders like Alzheimer’s disease with a little more understanding and acuity.