Bipolar is one of the biggest mental health challenges of the 21st century:
• One in fifty people are living with bipolar
• Bipolar increases an individual’s risk of suicide by up to 20 times
• It takes an average of 8 years to get a correct diagnosis of bipolar
Bipolar UK has had a proud tradition of supporting everyone affected by bipolar. Since starting work in 1983 as The Manic Depression Fellowship, it has focused on direct service provision and meeting the needs of individuals affected by bipolar. As a small charity Bipolar UK has seen first-hand how dramatically demand for services has increased and knows that many of the issues identified 37 years ago remain matters of concern.
In 2011, the organisation publicly consulted on key strategic planning issues. The response led to the development of a new five-year strategy and a new charity name – Bipolar UK. Bipolar UK delivers a number of peer support services, including more than 85 peer support groups, a moderated eCommunity with over 8,000 active users, one-to-one telephone and email support, as well as information and resources on its website, which is used by over 300,000 people a year. Alongside its service delivery work, Bipolar UK also raises public awareness and understanding of bipolar and its effects. The organisation is launching the ‘Bipolar Commission’ which will seek to take proactive steps in addressing key issues faced by the bipolar community, for example the tragic suicide rates – the charity estimates that every day 3 people with bipolar complete suicide.
In the years ahead, Bipolar UK will continue to provide peer support services to provide people with support and self-management knowledge. It is also looking to use digital technology to scale up and expand existing provision to ensure everyone affected by bipolar can live well and achieve their potential.
The SFF’s unrestricted grant is helping Bipolar UK to work towards these goals and reach more people affected by bipolar.