Mental health research signs up first 100 volunteers

Computer artwork showing the brain of an elderly man affected by Alzheimer's disease
Image caption The research project is recruiting people with mental health disorders such as Alzheimer's and autism

A research project into understanding and improving the care and treatment of mental health in Wales says it has recruited its first 100 volunteers.

The National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) aims to sign up 6,000 for its work with academics and health staff.

It wants to enlist people across a range disorders such including autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease.

NCMH director Prof Nick Craddock, of Cardiff University, said: "Our research aims to use patients' experiences."

The £3m university-based centre launched in July last year is funded by the Welsh government's National Institute for Social Care and Health Research.

Volunteers join the Wales Mental Health Network (WMHN), established to study the biological, psychological and lifestyle factors which contribute to the mental health problems which some people experience.

One of the first to sign up was Colin Robins, 44, from Cardiff who suffers with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

'Informal interview'

He said: "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."

Prof Craddock said volunteers of all ages have an informal 20-minute interview with a researcher, often in their own home or at their local health clinic.

He said: "Traditionally it's been difficult for people to come forward to discuss their mental health problems to help others - we want to change that."

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