According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million people in the U.S., or nearly 3 percent of the population over the age of 18 in a given year.
AFSP is premiering its second film in an educational series on mental disorders aimed at addressing the misinformation that clouds our understanding of bipolar disorder.
The educational program features a 40-minute film, Living with Bipolar Disorder, which includes three people who candidly share what it is like to live with the illness. Dr. Joseph Calabrese, professor of psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, narrates the film, walking viewers through the complexity of the illness, from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. In the film, Calabrese highlights key symptoms from each person’s story to emphasize important steps that each individual took to improve their lives.
“By introducing real people living with bipolar disorder and showing that they can live happy, productive lives with treatment and support, we believe this film will encourage those who are struggling to seek help,” AFSP Medical Director Dr. Paula Clayton said.
Also included is a story of a woman whose husband struggled with a mood disorder that was most likely undiagnosed bipolar illness, and ultimately died by suicide.
“Unfortunately, her story reminds us that more than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying mental disorder, such as depression and bipolar disorder, and often a concurrent issue with alcohol and substance abuse. But it is important to know that vigorous treatment of these illnesses can greatly reduce the risk of suicide,” Clayton said.
Living with Bipolar Disorder is being launched in conjunction with the start of Mental Health Awareness Month. More than 40 AFSP chapters nationwide will be showing the film in their local communities, followed by an open discussion led by an expert on bipolar illness. The program will also provide resources to help those with the illness as well as their family members and friends.
The film is available for purchase from the AFSP Store.