Raising Awareness About Bipolar Disorder
When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder six years ago, I’d never really been told much about it or any other mental illness – as a teenager there was no mental health education in school, and there wasn’t much media campaigning at the time. My experiences, and learning about what other people have been through, has spurred me on in campaigning for mental health awareness, and trying to achieve results in such a stigma filled field.
As I’ve progressed through my disorder and come to terms with it more, I have fought strongly for mental health awareness. I have given speeches for my local mental health team, addressing both service users and professionals about my experiences, and worked closely with them on user literature and written articles about the aspects of mental health.
I also run a blog detailing my own experiences, which I share on social media, and use to show those around me how I am feeling without having to work up to a difficult conversation. It is my hope that through these methods I can reach people who are feeling alone, or change the mind of someone who has misconceptions about bipolar or mental illness in general.
Why It’s Important
Raising mental health awareness is vital in reaching people like I was after my initial diagnosis – people who are likely vulnerable and scared, and not sure where to turn to for help, or understanding. Bipolar disorder can make you feel isolated, as you feel you are different from the rest of the world. You may feel you act differently or are treated in ways that other people might not be.
In instances like this increased awareness can help you form connections with other people who are going through the same experiences. Reaching out to other people and starting relationships with those who feel the same way can prevent you from feeling lost, and give you someone to turn to in times of trouble.
Having people you can turn to in a crisis is crucial when you are going through a bipolar episode, and those feel too alone or unable to cope can sadly be lost to the disorder, or use self-destructive coping methods. As many as one in five people suffering with bipolar are lost to suicide, and thus it becomes even more critical to raise awareness and reduce this statistic.
As bipolar awareness grows, more people can learn about the disorder and how it might manifest itself at the start of an episode. This may be vital in helping loved ones, or even the sufferer, recognize the symptoms before they come to a point where desperate intervention is needed. Early warning signs are often highlighted well in media awareness campaigns, and are easily accessible by everyone.
Next page: ways to raise awareness.