Depression, particularly in later life (over 65) is linked to increased risk of dementia and could be a contributing factor in up to 4% of all global dementia cases. The underlying mechanism linking depression to brain health is complex and difficult to unravel: depression is thought to be both a risk factor but also an early symptom of dementia, detected before a formal diagnosis occurs.

It’s unclear from the current evidence base whether treating depression (for example with antidepressants) reduces dementia risk, and further research is needed. However, addressing mental ill-health within the population has clear benefits in allowing people to live long, happy and healthy lives.