All-Wales appeal to improve nation’s mental health

Experts from an all-Wales centre researching new ways to improve services and treatments for people with mental health problems have issued a nationwide appeal for volunteers.

The National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) is looking for people to join the Wales Mental Health Network (WMHN).

NCMH is an all-Wales research centre which brings Cardiff University’s world-leading research experts together with frontline health professionals across Wales to improve patient care.

The Network includes individuals from childhood to old age who suffer with mental health problems including people with neuro-developmental disorders such as ADHD and Autism, major psychiatric disorders such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Recruitment to the Network began earlier this year with the aim of recruiting some 6,000 volunteers from all parts of Wales. Volunteers take part in a short, informal 20 minute interview – often in their own home or at their local health clinic- with one of the Wales Mental Health Network researchers with information provided in strictest confidence.

44-year-old volunteer, Colin Robins from Cardiff who suffers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is urging others to come forward to volunteer for the study. Colin said: “I volunteered for the study as I wanted to help benefit veterans and others suffering with PTSD and help improve understanding of mental ill health.

“I found the process easy, quite relaxing and pleasant and I would encourage others to take part in order to make the general public aware that there is a problem and mental ill health should not be a taboo subject.

“People are still not even aware of what PTSD is – that needs to change,” he added.

Funded by the Welsh Government’s National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR) the Centre is appealing for volunteers to give as many people as possible, from across Wales, the opportunity to join the Network.

The Wales Mental Health Network (WMHN) has been established to facilitate high quality research. The project is designed to provide better understanding of why some people experience problems with their mental health by studying the biological, psychological and lifestyle factors.

“Traditionally it’s been difficult for people to come forward to discuss their mental health problems to help others – we want to change that,” says Professor Nick Craddock from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine and NCMH Director.

“Mental health problems can affect anyone regardless of age, location, race, gender or social background and our research aims to use patients’ experiences to ensure services and treatments reflect the needs of sufferers.

“We’ve rapidly recruited our first 100 volunteers – but we need more volunteers to come forward to help others. The process is simple and straight forward and we would urge as many people as possible to join the Network,” he added.

Further information on the National Centre for mental Health (NCMH) is also available at www.ncmh.info, by calling: 029 20 74 4392, E-mail: info@ncmh.info or by writing to: Freepost RSSY-JYJK-AGTU, National Centre for Mental Health, Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University, 4th Floor Main Building, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, CF14 4XN.

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