Mental health

WHO releases new resources on dementia

Cathy Greenblat

20 September 2017 – For World Alzheimer’s Day, on 21 September, WHO is releasing a new set of resources for different audiences on how to contribute to improving the lives of people with dementia, their carers and families.

The resources are for policy-makers, health- and social-care providers, civil society organizations and people living with dementia and their carers.

World Health Assembly endorses global action plan on dementia

WHO/G. McKell

29 May 2017 - Delegates at the World Health Assembly today endorsed a global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025 and committed to developing ambitious national strategies and implementation plans. The global plan aims to improve the lives of people with dementia, their families and the people who care for them, while decreasing the impact of dementia on communities and countries. It provides a comprehensive blueprint for action, in areas such as: increasing awareness of dementia and establishing dementia-friendly initiatives; reducing the risk of dementia; diagnosis, treatment and care; research and innovation; and support for dementia carers.

The Global Dementia Observatory

January 2017 - The Global Dementia Observatory (GDO) is being developed by WHO to facilitate countries in strengthening their systems to support people with dementia and their families.

The GDO aims to facilitate the sharing of best practices, evidence-based service planning and strengthening of policies by providing easy access to a range of key dementia statistics and WHO’s analyses to monitor global, regional and national progress and trends in the area of dementia.

WHO iSupport: E-programme for Caregivers of People Living with Dementia

Jonas Wresch / HelpAge International

January 2017 - Millions of people provide care for people with dementia globally. Caregiving impacts are overwhelming: the deterioration of caregiver’s physical and mental health, lost productivity as caregivers are forced to quit work, and staggering economic consequences.

To support family members and friends caring for someone living with dementia, WHO is developing an e-programme to enhance self-help, skills, and support in collaboration with international partners. This tool will become available via personal computers, tablets and smartphones.


fact buffet


47 millionMore than 47 million people worldwide have dementia.

Fact sheet: dementia

Dementia cost

$818 billionThe majority of care is provided by family carers.

Fact sheet: dementia


7th Dementia is now the 7th leading cause of death.

Fact sheet: The top 10 causes of death

Dementia is an umbrella term for several diseases affecting memory, other cognitive abilities and behaviour that interfere significantly with a person’s ability to maintain their activities of daily living. Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not a normal part of ageing.

WHO is working very closely with Member States and other relevant stakeholders to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers, while decreasing the impact of dementia on communities and countries.

Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020

The action plan recognizes the essential role of mental health in achieving health for all people. It aims to achieve equity through universal health coverage and stresses the importance of prevention.