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Web based bipolar treatment scoops health industry prize

02 December 2010

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

Cardiff University’s Beating Bipolar project 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.

The project, developed by experts from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, is the first internet based education treatment for bipolar disorder.

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 Cardiff 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 Cardiff University’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute, and co-presenter on the modules 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 Cardiff University.

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 Cardiff 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.



Further information is available by contacting:

Chris Jones
Public Relations
Tel: 029 20 874731

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.

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