Actor and TV presenter Stephen Fry has endorsed the work at Lancaster University’s groundbreaking mental health centre, which has just celebrated its fifth anniversary.
Centre directors and staff at the internationally-renowned Spectrum Centre for Mental Health were delighted to read the tweet from the star, who has bipolar disorder, which read: “Happy birthday @Spectrumcentre – great work over last 5yrs on psychological therapies for people living with bipolar disorder – keep it up!”
The success theme continued throughout the day during a special conference to mark the anniversary when guest speaker Prof Richard Bentall, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool, said Spectrum had, in a very short period of time, established itself as a
centre of excellence, not just nationally, but throughout the world.
“It has become renowned for research that incorporates user perspective and it has become a centre envied by other UK universities,” he added. “And I am sure it will achieve even more in the future.”
Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medicine, Prof Tony Gatrell, launched the conference and gave the opening address in which he said the Spectrum Centre, which had crafted an international reputation for its specialist bi-polar work, would become a jewel in the crown for both faculty and university.
Spectrum Centre ‘User Researcher’ Rita Long, supported by two members of the centre’s Advisory Panel Barry King and Mark Holden, also addressed the conference on the benefits of working closely with sufferers and carers.
The Spectrum Centre is the only academic institution chosen by the Government earlier this year to help improve psychological therapies for severe mental illness sufferers.
Using the anniversary as a springboard for action, the pioneering centre, which has become a beacon for good practice and high quality research, launched a major campaign to bring mental health issues to the forefront by presenting a brand new mission statement.
The major thrust of the statement seeks national commitment to ensure people with severe mental illnesses are able to access the psychological therapies they need.
The Spectrum Centre obtains significant grant funding and works collaboratively with third sector organisations and service users, regionally and nationally.
Over the last five years the centre has:
n Expanded from three to more than 30 full time staff members.
n Established an Advisory Panel which acts as a test bed for opinion on all matters, initiatives and outputs.
n Conducted translational research into the understanding and psychological treatment of bipolar disorder and other related conditions.
n Led an online distance learning PhD in Mental Health. The programme, which has an international focus, includes mental health professionals working across the public, private and voluntary sector, including managers, clinicians, and educators.
n Informed national policy. Prof Steven Jones has taken a lead role in re-writing the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance for psychological interventions for people with Bipolar Disorder.
n Worked jointly and forged links with colleagues at local and UK-wide NHS trusts and brought together academic, research and NHS staff.