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Living with mental illness

03 August 2010

Professor Nick Craddock with N-Dubz singer, Tulisa ContostavlosProfessor Nick Craddock with N-Dubz singer, Tulisa Contostavlos

A leading University expert will feature in a hard-hitting BBC documentary exploring life for a young hip-hop star growing up with a parent suffering from mental illness.

Professor Nick Craddock from the School of Medicine is featured in the forthcoming BBC documentary: Tulisa: My Mum and Me.

The documentary, part of BBC Three’s Adult Season, examines the story of N-Dubz singer, Tulisa Contostavlos and her personal account of what life is like growing up with a mother suffering from a schizo-affective disorder.

Speaking during her visit to the University, Tulisa said: "Mental illness is a part of society. It doesn't mean someone's mad, it means they have a problem. It is good to know that people are recognising this and trying to find ways to help."

In an attempt to explain the hereditary nature of mental illness the programme will feature Tulisa’s visit to Cardiff and her discussions with Professor Craddock.

Professor Craddock leads a major study of the causes and triggers of mood and psychotic illnesses, including schizoaffective disorder.

Professor Nick Craddock said: "Youngsters living with a parent who suffers from a mental illness can have an extremely difficult time. Often the stigma can be overwhelming and the upheaval untold.

"By making such an honest and revealing documentary like this, Tulisa’s fame can help reach a new and often untouched audience and help break the stigma that can prove so overwhelming for youngsters living with a parent who suffers from mental illness."

Tulisa is not the only celebrity to have visited the University to consult Professor Craddock. Actor, writer and University Fellow, Stephen Fry came to the School of Medicine in 2006 to discuss his life with bipolar disorder and support Professor Craddock’s research.

Former Atomic Kitten star and I’m a Celebrity…winner Kerry Katona visited Professor Craddock in 2009. He and his team also advised Eastenders on character Stacey Slater’s battle with bipolar.

Professor Craddock is leading a number of key studies and would like to hear from individuals who have experienced one or more episodes of high mood (called mania or hypomania) at any time during their life.

Volunteers will be visited at home by a researcher who will ask about their experiences and symptoms as well as taking a small blood sample. Any information given would be in strict confidence.

Further information, is available by visiting the The Bipolar Disorder Research Network: or Bipolar Disorder: Your Guide:

The documentary – Tulisa: My Mum and Me – will be shown on BBC Three on Tuesday August 10.

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