Patron

Well-loved actor and comic signs-up as Research Institute Patron.

Watch a video of Stephen Fry (who is not a Welsh speaker), talking about the Research Institute's pioneering research.

Stephen Fry, one of the UK's best known actors, writers and comedians has been unveiled as the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute's first ever Patron.

As Patron he will act as an advocate for the Research Institute's research work and use his high public and media profile to help break down the stigma attached to people who suffer with poor mental health.

Stephen Fry is no stranger to the University or to the pioneering work of the Research Institute.

As part of his documentary series The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, he visited Professor Nick Craddock's team to discuss the condition and also took part in his largest ever research study into the disorder.

In 2010 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University.

Talking about his work with the Research Institute and in particular with Professor Nick Craddock, Stephen Fry said: "Professor Craddock has pioneered an extraordinary study into bipolar disorder, using the largest group of people for research purposes to try and get a real mass of data about this appalling condition.

"I think it's one of the things that Cardiff University should be most proud of because this is a world beating study and has put this department of Nick Craddock's on the world map as far as leaders in this research are concerned.

"I think that Cardiff University will have a large part to play in breaking down the barriers of stigma around mental illness.

"I'm very proud to have been a small part of it."

Stephen Fry first came to public attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also included Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Tony Slattery.

With Hugh Laurie, as the comedy double act Fry and Laurie, he co-wrote and co-starred in A Bit of Fry & Laurie, and the duo also played the title roles in Jeeves and Wooster.

As a solo actor, Fry played the lead in the film Wilde, was Melchett in the BBC television series Blackadder, starred as the title character Peter Kingdom in the ITV series Kingdom, and is the host of the quiz show QI.

Welcoming the news, Professor Nick Craddock said: "Stephen is a towering figure in the fight against stigma in mental illness. We are delighted and deeply grateful for his interest in, and help with, our research. There could be no better Patron and ambassador for our Research Institute and its work."

Professor Mike Owen, Director of the Research Institute added: "Often ignored and misunderstood mental illness remains one of the key health challenges. Poor mental health affects some 16.7 million people in the UK today.

"Our mission at the Research Institute is simple: to drive the development of new research areas aimed at translating the fundamental discoveries made by Cardiff neuroscientists in the major psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders into a greater understanding of disease mechanisms, classification and diagnosis.

"Stephen Fry is a much loved and highly respected figure, and we are delighted that he has accepted our invitation to become our first Patron to help spread our message and the results of our work."We look forward very much to working with him over the coming months."