04 July 2016
Bipolar education breaks new ground
A small team in Salisbury has run a ground-breaking group
education course for those with bipolar disorder.
People with poor mental health are usually given information to
help understand their condition in 1:1 sessions with their care
workers but Sarum Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) based at
Fountain Way are taking a group approach.
The course (made up of 12, two hour sessions) was completed by
six people, some newly diagnosed and others with a longer term
diagnosis. Referrals came from within the CMHT and from the Early
Information about bipolar disorder was given and discussed
throughout the course. This included what it is, the course of the
illness, the symptoms and the treatment options and relapse
Consultant psychiatrist Dr Vahak Simon said "There is good
evidence to show that psycho-education is effective when delivered
in a group. It took a lot of development work by the team but the
course has exceeded all expectations."
"Feedback has been really positive and encouraging" continued Dr
Simon, "Service users highly appreciated the amount of information
offered and the approach used. They highlighted the importance of
being able to talk to others about the condition and how they are
managing the challenges it presents. Pre- and post- measures
demonstrated a considerable improvement in service users' awareness
and understanding of the different aspects of bipolar illness".
CMHT community psychiatric nurse Ellen Bleese said "One service
user said that the only time they had ever met another person with
bipolar disorder was when they were unwell and in hospital and that
it was nice to meet a fellow sufferer in a stable environment."
Polly Sturgess CMHT community psychiatric nurse who also helped
run the course said "We encouraged people to build a life chart and
present it to the group. At first there was reluctance but
confidence grew and everyone did it."
Following this success, the second course will be starting in
July and what's more, service users who completed the first course
will participate in presenting their experience! It is also hoped
that more nurses will take part and gain experience.
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression is fairly
common and can be diagnosed at any age. It is a condition that
affects the mood, which can swing from one extreme to another.