Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing, University of Ulster Magee
The University of Ulster has recently established the Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing, on the Magee campus of the university.  This centre brings together research specialists from across the university.  In today’s society there is an expectation that we constantly examine knowledge in all areas of physical health.  Indeed, we would be rightly alarmed if this was not the case in relation to our physical health.  Is this also the case for mental health?  Nothing less should be expected in the area of mental health, if for no other reason than its enormous costs to society.  
One has to admire the determination with which relatives, family, friends and those who have acknowledged the presence of mental health difficulties have engaged with society’s treatment of those with mental health problems.  As a society we need to find less damaging ways of interacting with one another.  The costs have been enormous at the level of the individual, family and society.  Our current mental health needs, by all of the available information, are significantly higher than those in most comparable societies.  
We now know the considerable benefits that have been gained in the area of physical health from good research.  Likewise research has clarified and provided answers, however partial and incomplete at times, to many seemingly insurmountable problems relating to mental wellbeing.  Any well-functioning society maintains a consistent and interactive dialogue with this research literature, otherwise we are in danger of providing a less than optimal service, and reinforcing attitudes and beliefs that may themselves be damaging.  Organisations such as Mindwise provide essential services to individuals, families and indeed the wider society, in an area where the suffering is often all too well hidden.  Universities, on the other hand, maintain and enhance skills to provide research led answers to questions.  These questions never arise in a vacuum but in a continuous dialogue, acknowledged or unacknowledged, with key stakeholders.  Within our society these stakeholders include the service users and those involved with their care.   By combining strengths we all gain and potentially enhance our own core activity for the mutual benefit of those in whose interest we exist. 
Brendan Bunting
Professor of Psychology and Director
Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing, on the Magee campus of the university.

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