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N-Dubz singer visits Cardiff to help explain mother’s mental illness

03 August 2010

For immediate release

A leading Cardiff 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 Cardiff University’s School of Medicine and a leading figure in mental health research 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.

In an attempt to explain the hereditary nature of mental illness the programme features Tulisa’s visit to Cardiff University and her discussions with Professor Craddock, who leads a major study of the causes and triggers of mood and psychotic illnesses, including schizoaffective disorder.

Professor 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.

Speaking during her visit to Cardiff 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."

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.


Further information

Professor Nick Craddock
School of Medicine
Cardiff University
Tel: 02920 687067

School of Medicine
Cardiff University’s School of Medicine is a significant contributor to healthcare in Wales, a major provider of professional staff for the National Health Service and an international centre of excellence for research, delivering substantial health benefits locally and internationally. The school’s 800 staff include 500 research and academic staff who teach more than 2,000 students, including 1,110 postgraduate students.

The School is based at the Heath Park Campus, a site it shares with the University Hospital of Wales, the third largest university hospital in the UK. The School has an all-Wales role, contributing greatly to promoting, enhancing and protecting the nation’s health.

A key partner in this role is the National Health Service (NHS) in Wales, with which the School is linked at all levels. This mutual dependency is illustrated by the teaching of medical undergraduates in more than 150 hospitals located in all of Wales’ health authorities. The medical curriculum followed at the School enables students to acquire and apply knowledge, skills, judgement and attitudes appropriate to delivering a high standard of professional care. Around 300 new doctors currently graduate from the School every year and the Welsh Assembly Government has invested substantially in new teaching facilities to increase this number further

Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.