Lancaster University

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Centre for mental health research at Lancaster University

04/24/2008 12:20:06

A new £3m research centre at Lancaster University will be focussing on understanding the psychology and psychological treatment of bipolar disorder – the little understood and distressing mental health problem associated with experiences of recurrent periods of depression and mania.

The main focus of work in the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research will be on developing psychological treatments (including cognitive therapy) to facilitate recovery and improve relapse prevention for individuals with bipolar disorder. The Spectrum Centre also plans to employ its strong links with the NHS to inform and improve services for people with this diagnosis. This work has the potential to impact on both the financial cost (estimated at £200m per year for the NHS and with annual wider social costs of £ 2 billion) and personal consequences (which include high risks of self harm, suicide, substance use and other mental health problems) of bipolar disorder.

The Centre’s new director Professor Steven Jones and senior lecturer Dr Fiona Lobban join Lancaster from Manchester University and more staff will be recruited to the centre.

Professor Jones said: “ Bipolar is a common but under recognised disorder. It is challenging for clinicians to detect because of the fluctuating nature of its symptoms. Currently only very few individuals with this diagnosis are able to access high quality psychological help and we want to work towards changing this situation. We wish to do this by developing a range of interventions from self help to intensive individual therapy and to work with clinical services and the voluntary sector to help people access effective psychological support.”

The new Centre for Evidence Based Mental Health Research has been made possible with a £1.3m donation from a Lancaster Alumnus and will be part of Lancaster University’s new Faculty of Health and Medicine.