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Award for treating Bipolar Disorder

02 December 2010

Dr Danny Smith, School of Medicine (front) is pictured with Dr Ian Jones, School of Medicine, and Barbara Wilding, Big Lottery at the official launch of BEPCymruDr Danny Smith, School of Medicine (front) is pictured with Dr Ian Jones, School of Medicine, and Barbara Wilding, Big Lottery at the official launch of BEPCymru

A unique University web-based educational treatment for patients with bipolar disorder has scooped a key industry partnership prize.

The Beating Bipolar project, developed by Dr Daniel Smith, School of Medicine is the first internet-based education treatment for bipolar disorder.

It has been awarded the 2010 MediWales Innovation Award for NHS Partnership with Industry in recognition of its innovative use of technology and ‘significant and commendable’ impact on patient care.

Using an interactive website, the programme teaches patients and their relatives about the diagnosis, causes and treatments of bipolar disorder, helping them develop self-management skills and ways to cope with early signs of relapse.

The programme is made up of eight 20 minute interactive modules, made available on the website over a four month period. Each module is presented by University graduate and Bristol University lecturer Dr Alice Roberts, well-known to television audiences for the BBC’s Coast, and her Don’t Die Young series on health.

Dr Daniel Smith, Clinical Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant psychiatrist at the University’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute said: "Beating Bipolar helps put patients and relatives in touch with the latest ideas about bipolar depression - and with each other.

"It explains symptoms and treatment options in an accessible way, and patients will find the online forum to be a really valuable extra source of support. It's about empowering people with knowledge, and providing a space where experiences can be shared and discussed.

"We are delighted that the programme has been recognised with such a prestigious award."

Developed in collaboration with the Healthcare Learning Company, Manic Depression Fellowship and funding from the Welsh Assembly Government and Big Lottery Fund, the Beating Bipolar project has been tested in a randomised clinical trial and found to have a significant impact on the psychological quality of life of people with bipolar disorder.

It’s hoped that the new treatment will be rolled out across the NHS at a low cost so more sufferers are able to benefit from the treatment.

The project is part of a larger programme of educational interventions for bipolar disorder developed by experts from the School of Medicine.

The Bipolar Education Programme Cymru (BEPCymru) is Wales’s first programme to offer group education for people with bipolar disorder and their families in addition to their regular treatment, developed jointly by Professor Nick Craddock, Dr Ian Jones and Dr Danny Smith from the University’s Mood Disorders group.

The five year project, funded by a grant of £770, 862 from the Big Lottery Fund’s £15 million Mental Health Matters (MHM) programme, aims to promote the rehabilitation and independence of people with serious mental health problems in Wales and support those at greatest risk of suicide.

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