Since our formation in the early 1980's, we've had a proud tradition of supporting everyone affected by bipolar. In 1982, Sheila Woodland from Wimbledon, London, placed an advert in The Guardian seeking responses from people directly affected by manic depression (as bipolar was then known).
Soon after, Philomena Germing from Barnes, London, placed similar adverts in The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Observer. When the two women found out about each other, they decided to join forces. The 180 respondents were contacted individually to suggest that they met to form a society. The first meeting was held in January 1983 at Church House, Westminster Cathedral, and was attended by 43 people.
Roll forward 37 years to 2020 and sadly it doesn’t feel like the world of mental health has moved forward a great deal, and our community still reports these issues as matters of concern. That’s why this year we will be launching the ‘Bipolar Commission’ which seeks to take proactive steps in addressing key issues faced by our community, for example the tragic suicide rates - we estimate that every day 3 people with bipolar complete suicide. It's also an aim of ours that we can achieve parity of esteem for mental health services for people with bipolar.
In the years ahead, providing peer support services remain central to everything we do. Hundreds of thousands of people affected by bipolar still lack basic support and self-management knowledge. We are looking to use digital technology to scale up and expand our existing provision to ensure everyone affected by bipolar can live well and achieve their potential. Bipolar UK remains committed to being your innovative, sustainable national bipolar charity.