Alastair Campbell to support research funding into mental health

06 Jan 2011 12:57:07.730

PA 03/11

In his award winning documentary ‘Cracking Up’ he spoke candidly about his own breakdown. His novel ‘All in the Mind’ has also won considerable praise.

Alastair Campbell, best known for his role as Tony Blair’s spokesman, Press Secretary and Director of Communications and Strategy, firmly believes that speaking openly about mental illness helps to de-stigmatise it. 

He will be talking about his own experiences at the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire’s fundraising dinner — to support research funded by Mental Health Research UK (MHRUK) and carried out at The University of Nottingham’s Institute of Mental Health. Alastair Campbell is joined at the event, on Wednesday January 12 2011 at The University of Nottingham, by George Hugh-Jones QC, a barrister specialising in clinical negligence and professional disciplinary work at the General Medical Council and General Dental Council.


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High Sheriff, Amanda Farr, who has worked in the county in the field of mental health for many years, said: “I am hugely grateful to Alastair Campbell and Mr Hugh-Jones for their support. I am also particularly keen on fighting stigma related to mental illness and supporting research. The burden of mental illness is widely underestimated and despite the huge impact of mental ill health on individuals and the economy, mental health research receives only a fraction of the funding that supports research into other long-term chronic diseases.”

One in four people suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives and 30 per cent of visits to GPs relate to mental health. Three out of 10 people take mental health related sick leave each year and over 90 million working days a year are lost through mental health problems, costing the economy nearly 100 billion pounds a year.

The charity dinner will highlight the work of the Institute of Mental Health at the University which was set up in 2006 as a national centre of excellence to transform our understanding and treatment of mental illness. In partnership with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust it offers leadership and innovation backed by world class expertise.

Professor Nick Manning, Director of the Institute of Mental Health: “While acknowledged internationally as one of the key global health burdens, mental health has struggled to find the necessary funding available to other areas of health research.  However we know that improvements to health can be created through the painstaking and dedicated work of the research and clinical community, and we are grateful to the efforts of the High Sheriff and Mental Health Research UK in supporting Nottingham’s work in this field.”

MHRUK was set up by, among others, Professor Clair Chilvers, formerly Chair of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS and former Director of the Mental Health Research and Development Portfolio at the Department of Health. The charity’s aim is to promote excellence in mental health research and works with other charities and bodies involved in mental health to fund research into the underlying courses of mental ill health and treatments for mental health problems.

The University of Nottingham has a broad research portfolio but has also identified and badged 13 research priority groups, in which a concentration of expertise, collaboration and resources create significant critical mass. Key research areas at Nottingham include energy, drug discovery, global food security, biomedical imaging, advanced manufacturing, integrating global society, operations in a digital world, and science, technology & society.

Through these groups, Nottingham researchers will continue to make a major impact on global challenges.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 39,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at:

University facts and figures at:

For more information about Mental Health Research UK go to:

Story credits

More information is available from Emma Pearson on +44 (0)115 951 3724,

Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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