New Wales centre to tackle mental illness from childhood to old age
Wales’s first centre to bring frontline mental health workers and Cardiff University’s world-leading researchers together for the benefit of patients has been announced.
The National Centre for Mental Health will work across the lifespan of mental illness from childhood to old age.
It will include neuro-developmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism and the major adult psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Funded by a £3M grant from the Welsh Government’s National Institute for Social Care and Health Research, the Centre will see experts from the University’s MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics and Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute work alongside frontline professionals in all parts of Wales.
Professor Nick Craddock, of the School of Medicine, who will head the National Centre, said: “People with mental health problems need help and support to enable them to cope with their illness.
“Mental health problems can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or social background. That is why it is crucial that we have a national centre that brings frontline professionals in all parts of Wales together with academics to help develop the best possible treatments for Welsh patients.”
Professor Mike Owen who directs the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics and the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute, said, “The potential in this area is immense with recent advances in genetics and neurosciences.
“What we need to do now is to involve more patients from across Wales and challenge the commonly held view that these disorders are not amenable to medical research.
“We also need to train and involve more psychiatrists and other healthcare workers in research and encourage more investment in this area which is grossly underfunded given the morbidity that mental illness causes.”
Professor Craddock added: “The creation of Wales’ first National Centre for Mental Health is an exciting development – it provides Wales with its first opportunity to work directly with patients, not only to help them improve their mental health but also to improve our research outcomes.”