Spectrum Connect

Do you want to find out more and get involved in our research?

Looking to register with Spectrum Connect? Click here to complete the Enrolement and Consent Form.

We strongly value community involvement and actively seek input from service users and providers throughout research development and implementation.

Spectrum Connect links Spectrum researchers with volunteers and health & social care providers. It provides individuals who are interested in Bipolar Disorder and associated conditions with an opportunity to make valuable contributions to an innovative research portfolio.

We welcome interest from individuals who have experienced bipolar mood fluctuations, their relatives, friends, partners, carers as well as individuals who are interested in mental health research but have not experienced mental illness. Volunteers are vital for improving our understanding about the experience and management of Bipolar Disorder.

Spectrum Connect is also open to interested health and social care providers. In this way, health and social care providers can remain informed about our research activitives - including how they may be able to assist with recruitment. Collaborative relationships with health/ social care providers are essential to the conduct of high quality research.

Do you have a question about Spectrum Connect?

How do I join Spectrum Connect?

You can sign up to Spectrum Connect online or by post.

If you want to complete our online enrolement, click here to register now.

Alternatively you can download the form in the following formats:-

Who can join Spectrum Connect?

Spectrum Connect is open to everyone.

Although most of our work focuses on bipolar disorder we also conduct research on psychosis and other associated conditions.

We are interested in the impact of bipolar and associated experiences on a spectrum of individuals including people with a new or established diagnosis, their relatives and carers.

It is also important to understand the differences between people with and without bipolar experiences, so individuals who do not have a history of mental illness are also welcome to join. Spectrum Connect includes a wide range of people aged 18 years and above.

Spectrum Connect is also a helpful resource for health and social care providers as well as the general public who would like to remain informed about Spectrum research and activities.

Why is Spectrum Connect Important?

Spectrum Connect provides Spectrum Researchers with fast, more economical access to a wider cross section of potential volunteers.

This is crucial to ensure that our research findings are as representative as possible of people's general experience and make best use of our limited research funding. It allows researchers to identify which people might be most relevant for the needs of their study.

It also allows us to keep volunteers and health/ social care providers up to date with the latest research developments.

Do members of Spectrum Connect need a diagnosis?

No.

Spectrum Connect is not just for individuals with bipolar experiences, but also individuals with psychosis, family and carers and individuals who do not have a history of mental illness. We also welcome interest from health / social care providers who work with individuals affected by bipolar disorder and associated conditions.

If you want to take part in our research and think you have bipolar experiences but don't have a diagnosis, you may still be eligible.

What is your research about?

Our research focuses on psychological aspects of Bipolar Disorder.

We seek to understand more about recovery, coping and factors associated with high functioning. We are interested in the differences between people with and without bipolar experiences. We are also conducting trials on a range of psychosocial interventions, including individual, group and internet based formats.

What is the Research Process?

When you are contacted with information about a study, it will have been approved by an Ethics Committee.

Ethics Committees provide researchers with an independent review of their research proposal to ensure that the rights, safety, dignity and well-being of participants are upheld.

As a volunteer, if you agree to take part in research, you can be assured that your rights, safety, dignity and wellbeing are of utmost concern.

Similarly, as a health/ social care provider, if you agree to refer into research, you can rest assured that the rights, safety, dignity and wellbeing of your client(s) is of utmost concern.

Do I have to participate in research?

No.

As a member of Spectrum Connect it is up to you to decide how many (if any) studies you wish to participate in. You can be a member just to keep up to date with our research if you prefer.

What might I be offered the chance to do?

Specific tasks will vary from study to study. Some examples of the types of things you may be involved in include: -

  • Providing feedback on the development of an intervention
  • Attending individual or group therapy sessions
  • Utilising self management strategies (e.g. relapse prevention)
  • Making a record of sleep, mood and activity

How will I know what I can do?

We will send you information about upcoming research that you might be interested in/ eligible for based on the information you provide when you join Spectrum Connect.

Eligibility requirements vary from study to study. Before you can participate, we will need to confirm your eligibility. This typically involves a brief telephone conversation with one of our team.

How much time will participating in research take?

It varies from study to study

Participation can be from a one-off interview to weekly appointments. The requirements will be clearly outlined in the information that is sent to you.

Remember, you can withdraw at any stage. If you begin a study and it becomes too much, let the researchers know that you no longer wish to participate (you do not have to explain why).

Where does the research take place?

Most of our research takes place across the North West Region but we also conduct national research online.

Depending on the project and participant preference, appointments may be held in the home, at a convenient healthcare / community setting or at the Spectrum Centre, University of Lancaster.

Our internet based studies also allow volunteers from outside the North West to contribute to our research.

The recruitment region for a project can be found on the relevant page on our website, and will also be listed on the information sheet that we give to potential participants.

Do I have to stop my treatments?

To date, this has never been a requirement.

In fact, participants are encouraged to continue with their usual treatment(s). If it ever became a requirement to stop any of your treatment(s), this would be clearly outlined in the information sent to you. You would also be given the opportunity to ask any questions.

Remember, participation is always entirely voluntary, so if you are not happy with any of the study requirements, you are under no obligation to participate.

How confidential is my information?

Researchers are bound by privacy and confidentiality and your rights will be protected under the 1998 Data Protection Act.

As a member of Spectrum Connect, your details will be kept strictly confidential in a password protected database accessible only to the Spectrum Centre's Director, Associate Director, Research Secretary and a researcher nominated by the Director.

When researchers need volunteers, they specify the types of people they need (e.g. diagnosis of bipolar disorder and anxiety) and the Research Secretary will search the database to identify appropriate individuals. If you are on this list, your contact details will be given to the researcher and they will contact you about their study.

If you decide to participate in a study, we aim to present our findings at conferences and publish them in academic journals. However, individual participants will never be personally identified in these outputs.

All Spectrum research is conducted in accordance with approval from the University Ethics Committee, and where required, the relevant NHS Ethics committee. These committees ensure that we conduct our research in a manner that upholds and respects the rights and dignity of our participants.

If you decide to participate in research, it is an ethical requirement that we maintain your privacy and confidentiality. For example, as a general rule, personally identifying information is kept separate from information gathered during the study, in a password protected database and/ or locked filing cabinet that is only accessible to key research personnel.

Prior to your participation you will be given written information that includes the specific measures used to protect your privacy and confidentiality.

There are certain limited circumstances under which confidentiality may be broken. Essentially, if you were to disclose information about an immediate and significant risk issue that caused us to fear for your safety, or the safety of someone else, then we have a duty of care and would be obliged to break confidentiality.

Please remember that the risk of harm would have to be significant. In the unlikely event of us needing to break confidentiality, where possible, you would be consulted about what information needed to be shared and with whom. The relevant services would then be contacted.

 

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