World Bipolar Day 2022: Rethinking Mental Health

Author

Keerthi Pillai

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At Xander, we are committed to rethinking mental health, continuing to push boundaries and drive employment opportunities for neurodiverse talent. We’re celebrating World Bipolar Day and have drawn up a list of facts and misconceptions, so we can continue to reduce the stigma around mental health issues.

 

Why do we celebrate it?

World Bipolar Day is celebrated every year on March 30. Why this date specifically? It falls on the birthday of famous artist Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that affects over 1m people in the UK alone.

The purpose of World Bipolar Day is to help reduce the stigma surrounding bipolar disorders and improve the lives of people with the condition through:

  • Education
  • Discussion
  • Awareness

 

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder (also called manic-depressive illness) is a mental illness affecting up to 2% of the population worldwide. It can be a life-long mental health problem that is predominantly characterised by extreme mood swings.

It is common to experience episodes of energetic mania followed by depression, you may also see changes in your energy levels or in your behaviour.

Manic episodes often cause people to feel very energetic, overactive, and may accomplish more goals and activities than usual. On the other hand, depressive episodes are characterised by lethargy, low mood, and a lack of interest in goals and activities. Bipolar disorder was previously referred to as manic depression.

Symptoms of Bipolar can vary in severity but can affect several areas in your life such as school, work and relationships.

 

Did you know?

There is more than one type of bipolar disorder:

Bipolar I – An individual with one or more depressive episode & one or more manic episodes. Psychotic features such as hallucinations or delusions may occur

Bipolar II – Depressive episodes are its major feature and at least one hypomanic episode (less sever type of mania)

Cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia) – Characterised by multiple cycles of hypomania and depression

 

Common Misconceptions

“People with Bipolar Disorder are just moody.”

A person with bipolar disorder experiences extreme highs and lows that are much more intense and longer-lasting  than the usual mood swings we experience on a daily basis. Bipolar disorder has a debilitating effect on energy, activity, and sleep.

 “Bipolar disorder can be cured through diet and exercise.”

There is no ultimate cure for bipolar disorder, despite the fact that there are treatments for it. However, most people with bipolar disorder can live normal, productive lives with the right combination of mood stabilizers and other medications.

 

How can you support people with bipolar disorder in the workplace?

  1. Education

Your organisation can provide proactive and compassionate support for people suffering from bipolar disorder by encouraging your managers to learn as much as they can about the disorder.

 2. Workplace adjustments

Communicating with the individual and arriving at an agreement on reasonable adjustments that can be made in the workplace. This could include ensuring there is enough sunlight coming in, or even repositioning their work station.

3. Flexible working

In the case of patients who need to change medications as part of their treatment, their mood might be difficult to predict. To support their wellbeing, allow them to adjust their working hours, or allow them to work remotely.