When you find the strength to get through today, you also find hope to get through tomorrow. Bipolar Disorder (BD) is a chronic condition that affects around 1% of the population. Although there is still an immense stigma around mental illness, especially BD, it’s important to understand how serious this condition can be. Those suffering with it need strength from others so they can find the strength within themselves.
In honour of March 30th being World Bipolar Day, we want to share a message of strength, hope, and resilience.
BD is much more than going from happy to sad and back again. These severe mood changes include mania, psychosis, chronic depression, weight changes, and sometimes, thoughts of suicide. Someone suffering from BD is on an emotional roller coaster, trying to hold on while also fulfilling their social, familial, and financial obligations.
Finding strength with this condition can seem impossible. But, there are ways you can help a loved one suffering from BD find it.
You can be the supportive pillar they need right now. Listen to them without judgement or impatience. Be understanding. Although their experience is different from yours, you still accept and love them. Encourage them to seek help. Often, medication, talk-therapy, and other psycho-social supports can help those suffering from BD live more fulfilling lives.
As more awareness of mental illness and BD arise, it’s taken more seriously in the medical field and in society. Tremendous changes have already taken place in both. In the next few years, we will see an increase in medical treatment options for those suffering from mental illnesses.
One of which is the 2022 opening of Sunnybrook Hospital’s Garry Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre. Ontario’s government is investing $60 million to open this facility by December of 2022. In addition to treating and researching illnesses in psychiatry and neurology, there will be 48 in-patient beds for those suffering from mental illness. This is a huge leap forward.
Another exciting sign of hope is the Sunnybrook Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder. BD tends to develop between the ages of 15-30. Teenagers, who are already experiencing the trials of development, are common sufferers of BD. The Centre provides psychotherapy, parent support groups, family therapy, medication management, and more. They’re also making huge strides in mental illness research. There are ample opportunities for youth to be involved in the research process.
Then, there’s the inspirational and informative online publication, BPHope. This magazine provides stories of hope and resilience as well as current research on the condition. Readers can find articles on dating, friendship, marriage, parenting, careers, and stigma. It also has sections on symptoms and treatment of BD. This is an amazing resource for anyone suffering from BD, their families, and society as a whole.
Lastly, we’re so excited to announce that plans for the opening of Eli’s Place are underway. Our centre will provide long-term residential treatment for young adults suffering from mental illness. Our recovery-based program will promote resilience through the acquisition of life and work skills.
Together, with our supporters and increasingly supportive society, we can go from mental illness to hopeful futures. Learn how you can support Eli’s Place and help us open our doors in 2021.