Celebrating World Bipolar Day 2017

  On March 30, 2017 we will be celebrating World Bipolar Day as a platform to provide global education, open dialogue and improved sensitivity about bipolar disorder. Stigma can play a huge role in access to care, and the way an illness can impact our relationships, work and engagement in the world. World Bipolar Day is about battling stigma and …

Touched with Fire

I am so happy to see that bipolar is coming out of the closet. One dramatic example of that is the movie Touched with Fire. In it, filmmaker Paul Dalio tries to share the lived experience of bipolar with the world. He strives to share the beauty as well as the pain of bipolar, relying heavily on the imagery of Vincent …

World Bipolar Day 2016

World Bipolar Day 2016 World Bipolar Day is celebrated each year every 30th of March, the birthday of the well known post­ impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed as probably having bipolar disorder. The World Bipolar Day is the fruit of the initiative of the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD) in collaboration with the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) and International …

Mental Health Awareness Week

It is Mental Health Awareness Week in the US. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has announced a “Go Green for Mental Health” campaign (although I am still pretty fond of the sliver ribbon campaign to fight stigma). Meanwhile, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has just put out a video called “I’m Here” that makes the point that there …

Parity is What We Want

An overwhelming majority of Americans want parity. A large study found that almost 90% of Americans reported that mental health and non-mental health care were equally important to them in terms of their overall well-being. At the same time nearly a third of those Americans surveyed felt that mental health care was inaccessible and 40% felt that it was something that …

Self Injury is the 8th Leading Cause of Death

An article just published online in the prestigious journal JAMA Psychiatry makes us drawn case that our fascination with trying to come up with clear  answers to questions that may ultimately be impossible to answer (what a person’s intent was when they injured themselves) is obscuring the fact that self-injury is now the eighth leading cause of death in this …

Parity Website

We ran across information about a new website that is drawing attention to the issue of mental health parity and that is dedicated to helping people get the behavioral health treatment they need – Paritytrack.org. The essence of the federal law that requires mental health parity in insurance coverage is not that mental health needs to have a certain level of …

Bipolar Story in New York Times

I ran across a fascinating article in The New York Times magazine this past week entitled “I Don’t Believe in God but I Believe in Lithium” by Jaime Lowe dated June 25th 2015. It is a remarkable story, most particularly remarkable because it deals with some of the most charged issues connected with bipolar – inpatient and involuntary treatment, medications …

Mental Health Problems and Physical Health

An incredibly well researched article in the journal JAMA Psychiatry summarized a body of research on the impact of mental health conditions on overall mortality in the world population and concluded that roughly 10% of all mortality was related to mental health problems. As I’ve recently been wrestling with problems helping people get access to treatment I thought it might …

World Bipolar Day

Today, March 30, is World Bipolar Day. World Bipolar Day is a collaborative initiative of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders, the International Bipolar Foundation, and the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorders. I took advantage of the opportunity to do some web surfing and found an incredibly rich array of Twitter sites devoted to this topic. Bipolar World. Bipolar Blogs. Julie …

Keith O’Neil Fights Stigma

Keith O’Neil is a former Super Bowl champion and the founder of the Forever Foundation, an organization whose mission is to educate the public about bipolar disorder and to de-stigmatize the illness. In September he spoke at the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD) meeting in Washington, DC. From time to time I like to share information about people …

Medical Model

The medical model is something that many people with depression or mood swings feel frustrated about. The whole doctor-patient relationship with its power dynamics can seem exasperating, and at the same time, having an “illness” can seem as though it must be a source of stigma and shame. I’m not going to talk about the topic of the doctor-patient relationship, …

Stigma and Depression

Robin William’s death seemed to unleash a new level of openness to discussing depression and the ways that it affects the lives of so many of us. A Nature editorial (Nature is perhaps the premier scientific journal in the world) got me thinking about next steps… What would it take to eliminate the impact of stigma, and shame, and therefore …

Mental health in the UK

A little flaw in the UK’s ‘socialist’ medical service is poor provision for mental health. We have some of the leading surgeons in the world, some of our A&E departments are regarded as world-beaters too. To my knowledge hardly any of the staff were trained in Cuba or Russia and none of them is related to Che Guevara. But don’t you think …

Mental Health Parity Victory in California

On September 10th the California Supreme Court let stand a California Appeals Court decision that the California mental health parity law requires coverage of treatment that may have no equivalent in other medical specialties. Specifically, the Appeals Court held that Blue Shield of California must cover residential treatment for eating disorders. The Court noted that residential treatment was among the …

Ten Times More People With Serious Mental Illness in Jails Than Hospitals

  Quoted in its entirety from American Psychiatric Press’s News Updates – Ten times more individuals with serious mental illness are residing in state prisons and county jails +today than in the nation’s state psychiatric hospitals, according to a new study released +today by the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC). “The Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in Prisons and Jails: A State Survey” found …

Golden Gate Barrier Debate Highlights Misconceptions about Depression

Several of the readers of this blog sent me a link to an article that appeared in The New York Times this past week that indicated that it was possible or even likely that at the end of May the Golden Gate Bridge district would approve installing a barrier to prevent suicides. In case you don’t live near here, the …

Blog for Mental Health 2014

One of the benefits of blogging is that you run into interesting people and ideas. If you blog on WordPress you also get regular information about others who are doing the same thing. This past week I learned about a group of bloggers who are all working to reduce stigma and increase understanding of mental health – the Blog for …

A Worthwhile Project

A good friend of this blog, and a wonderful woman who has energy, talent and a commitment to making a difference, recently sent me an update on a project that she is working on to develop a film and website to reduce the stigma of bipolar. She and her team have put up “beta” website announcing the project. And she …