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NCMH Director makes guest appearance on new Bipolar UK podcast

Professor Ian Jones featured as a guest for Bipolar UK's brand-new podcast Let's Talk Bipolar, hosted by Emma Belle, who has lived experience of bipolar disorder.

Emma, who was diagnosed 10 years ago, shares conversations and lived experiences of those that live with bipolar on the podcast, as well as chatting with professionals in the medical and research fields, and families and carers that support those living with bipolar.

Professor Jones, who is Director of NCMH and a professor of Perinatal Psychiatry in the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neuroscience at Cardiff University, was invited on to the podcast to talk about the perinatal and postpartum seasons of life with bipolar disorder.

Professor Jones said of his research, “We know that bipolar disorder is a really important illness that can severely affect individuals. Everyone’s experience of it is different.

Helping people to live the best life they can is a really important part of my work.

“The goal is to prevent people from becoming ill, then to come up with better treatments than we have now. What we need are better ways of treating people.

“We’re aiming to speak to as many people with the illness as possible to notice patterns, and having a baby is one of  those patterns.”

“Learning to dance with Bipolar”

Emma talked about accepting the disorder and that she’s now prepared to co-exist with it after conflicting with it for so long.

“That’s what it’s about,” said Professor Jones, “Although it is a severe illness people can be reassured that they can live a good life with it.”

“The acceptance thing is massive,” replied Emma, “And the journey of acceptance comes in layers. I’ve learned to dance with bipolar.”

ncmh director Ian Jones standing in a football stadium in a red coat and stripy scarf

Professor Ian Jones

Looking ahead in Bipolar research

When asked about future bipolar research, Professor Jones said:

Research can help us understand bipolar better and lead to breakthroughs, which can lead to the next step in treatment that will be really important in years to come. We’re hoping we’re going in the right direction.

What is Bipolar disorder?

Bipolar Disorder is a complex illness that can vary a great deal in nature and severity between people, as Professor Jones explained on the podcast:

It’s a mood disorder which affects people’s emotions. Everybody on the planet experiences high mood and low mood, but for people with bipolar disorder those moods are much more extreme, and they would reach a point that we as clinicians would call a ‘clinical episode’.

If you have bipolar disorder you will experience periods of highs known as mania or hypomania, and usually, periods of depression.

“Perhaps most importantly, those symptoms will cause significant impairment in your day-to-day functioning,” concluded Professor Jones.

Getting help

If you think you might have bipolar disorder you should first see your GP who will perform an initial assessment.

Depending upon the outcome of this, your GP will decide whether you need a referral to a primary care mental health worker, your local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) or another service, depending on your needs.

If you are referred to your local CMHT you will receive a further more detailed assessment, and they will work with you to plan the right treatments for you.

Professor Jones’ work in bipolar disorder is ongoing, working closely with Bipolar UK. He recently featured in the charity’s 2021 conference in April.

Keep up to date with the Let’s Talk Bipolar podcast series.


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Mike Owen

Mike is the Communications Officer for NCMH and the Division of Psychological Medicine at Cardiff University.

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