Posted June 07th 2023
On Tuesday 6 June, members of NCMH, Bipolar UK and the public came together to launch the Wales Bipolar Commission, which marks a bid to make Wales the most bipolar-friendly country in the world.
Fifty-thousand people in Wales are living with bipolar disorder and the commission calls on the Welsh Government to improve the lives of those living with BD by reducing diagnosis delays, providing specialist care, developing standards and providing psychoeducation for everyone with bipolar.
The current average waiting-time for getting a diagnosis in Wales is 12 years and the commission asks Welsh Government to reduce this delay to five years. Bipolar UK Chief Executive Officer, Simon Kitchen remarked, “Five years is still an excruciating wait for many, but it’s realistic given the current state of the health services.”
Hope for individuals with bipolar disorder
At the launch, we heard from a variety of people who have been affected by bipolar, as well as those who facilitate and or receive support for the disorder. NCMH researcher and psychoeducation facilitator, John Tredgett explained that NCMH offers an award-winning 11-week psychoeducation programme that aims to improve the quality of life for people with bipolar.
The Bipolar Education Programme Cymru (BEPC) enables individuals to better manage their condition by understanding the symptoms, identifying triggers and monitoring their mood to help them stay as well as possible.
Helen Matthews described her experience as a Bipolar UK Peer Support Officer, which also emphasises self-management where support partners and individuals with bipolar can access support from another individual with lived experience of the disorder. This includes advice on how to support loved ones as well as coping strategies to stay well.
How contributing to bipolar research can make a real difference
Professor Ian Jones, Director of the National Centre for Mental Health is asking those with lived experience of bipolar disorder to take part in research so that we can better understand the disorder, its causes, triggers and how best to manage it.
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