This Friday is World Bipolar Day 2018 – a chance to spread awareness and eliminate the social stigma of a mental health disorder that affects about 60 million people globally.
Of course, it’s also Good Friday and a public holiday long weekend.
Sadly, it’s at times like Easter, Christmas and New Year – when most people are celebrating with family and friends – that individuals living with mental disorders can be at higher risk of self-harm.
Suicidal thoughts can be a symptom of bipolar disorder, more likely to be experienced during a ‘depressed phase’ than a ‘manic phase’.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), bipolar disorder typically involves episodes of elevated mood, over-activity and inflated self-esteem (manic phase), followed by episodes of depression – separated by periods of normal mood. People who experience manic attacks but do not go through a depressed phase can also be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
One in 50 adult Australians experiences bipolar disorder each year.
If you haven’t been diagnosed with bipolar disorder but suspect you have it, you can use the Black Dog Institute’s online test to see if you’re at risk of the condition and need to speak with your doctor.
Support is just a phone call away
It’s important to remember that if you have bipolar disorder (or any mental disorder), or know someone who does, help and support is still available to you over the Easter long weekend. Not everything shuts down on public holidays:
- Lifeline takes calls 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or chat to someone online (in real time) between 7pm and midnight. Find out more here.
- The Suicide Call Back Service provides free phone, video or online counselling, 24 hours every day of the year, for people affected by suicide. Call 1300 659 467 or visit the website.
- Kids Helpline offers support and counselling to young people aged 5 to 25, any time for any reason, on 1800 55 1800. You can also chat online between 8am and midnight, 7 days per week – visit the website.
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