Knowing about dementia vs. mental health concerns
August 19, 2021
By Keith Davenport
Several recent studies have begun to demonstrate that there may be link between dementia and other mental health concerns, including an increased risk for suicide or self-harm. Although this link doesn’t mean a person with dementia will always experience these mental health concerns, it does mean families should be aware of the mental health of their loved ones because families are the first line of care and support for an individual diagnosed with dementia. September is Suicide Prevention Month.
One of the most evidenced-based ways that a family member can help prevent suicide in a loved one is to have direct conversations about mental health, including asking a loved one directly if they have considered suicide. If they answer “yes,” then you can listen to what they are feeling and connect them with professional help.
Johnson County Mental Health’s Center 24/7 Crisis Line is always available to talk about current crisis or just a general mental health concern you have for yourself or for someone you care about. You can also learn more about how to talk to your loved ones about their mental health by attending a class such as Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) or Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR).
Visit jocogov.org/mentalhealth to view upcoming courses.
Keith Davenport is the community relations manager for Johnson County Mental Health Center.