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12 April 2012
Wales’ first dedicated educational programme designed to improve the quality of life of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder and their families in North Wales has been officially launched.
The Bipolar Education Programme Cymru (BEPCymru) is the first programme to offer group education for people with bipolar disorder and their families in addition to their regular treatment.
Developed by members of the University’s Mood Disorders Team based in the University’s Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology, School of Medicine and funded by a grant of £770, 862 from the Big Lottery Fund’s £15 million Mental Health Matters (MHM) programme, it aims to promote the rehabilitation and independence of people with serious mental health problems in Wales and support those at greatest risk of suicide.
The evidence-based programme, delivered through 10 weekly sessions and consisting of a combination of presentations, group discussions and group exercises, provides people with bipolar disorder with a greater understanding of their condition and enables them to take personal responsibility for managing their condition.
Dr Ian Jones, School of Medicine and Co-director of BEPCymru, said: "The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has highlighted the need for treatment for bipolar disorder to be combined with other interventions such as psychoeducation in order to gain maximum effect.
"The Bipolar Education Programme Cymru (BEPCymru) helps us meet this recommendation. This unique programme is designed to enable participants to gain improved awareness of their disorder, have a better understanding of their treatment, provide the skills necessary to detect early signs of relapse and, most importantly, enable them to make informed decisions about their treatment."
The programme has already run in south Wales for over two years and with the support of local Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT), it has now been rolled-out to north Wales. Initial groups have already run in Caernarfon and Llangefni with further 10-week sessions to start in Wrexham and Caernarfon in April 2012.
It is hoped that over the lifetime of the programme it will help up to 120 individuals per year, with some 1000 people benefiting over the lifetime of the programme, with the benefits extending to their families and the wider community.
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