You don't have to deal with bipolar disorder on your own. Find out where to get information on bipolar disorder, including access to mental health professionals and support groups, and learn strategies to help you cope in everyday life. Also learn where to get help if you need it urgently.
This can help if:
- you want to find support services for bipolar disorder
- you want to know about the different types of services and support that are available for bipolar disorder
- you want information about bipolar disorder.
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is when people experience serious extremes of mood, to the point where their moods interfere with their daily life. If you have bipolar disorder, your mood is likely to go through extreme highs (known as mania or hypomania) and lows (known as depression). However, what you experience during each mood, and how quickly or slowly you move between high and low moods, is different for everyone. There are also different types of bipolar disorder.
The mood changes and feelings experienced by people with bipolar disorder are different from those that most people experience as part of everyday life. Mood changes that occur as a result of bipolar disorder are extremely disruptive and impact on a person’s ability to function from day to day.
Why support services help
You don’t have to deal with bipolar disorder on your own. The good news is that there are effective treatments available to manage the condition. However, the sooner you seek professional help, the easier it will be to manage. The condition mostly needs long-term management and treatment under the advice of a GP, psychiatrist and psychologist. If you think you may have bipolar disorder, or you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you can turn to the following individuals, groups and organisations for help and support.
Your local GP
If you think you might have bipolar symptoms, it’s really important that you visit a GP, who will work with you to find out what’s going on and refer you to other help if necessary.
Head to beyondblue's directory of Mental Health Practitioners to search for a GP in your area.
Online information about bipolar disorder
- Black Dog Institute: This organisation specialises in depression and bipolar disorder. They have information about bipolar disorder, including self-tests and suggested actions that you can take. They also offer assessments over the phone for people in rural areas with a GP referral.
- SANE Australia: This national mental health organisation provides information and resources for bipolar disorder.
- Health Direct: This government health information service provides a general overview of bipolar disorder and links to additional services.
- MoodSwings: A source of information on how to help yourself or a loved one, questionnaires, definitions and resources, as well as chat rooms and a discussion board.
Self-help strategies online
- The Centre for Clinical Intervention's manual for living with bipolar disorder.
- Helpguide.org’s tips for living with bipolar disorder.
If you need to talk to someone urgently
- eheadspace.org.au: headspace’s online chat counselling service is available 7 days a week, 9 am – 1 am AEST.
- kidshelpline.com.au: Kids Helpline’s web-based and email counselling service is available 24/7 for young people up to 25 years.
- lifeline.org.au: Lifeline’s online chat counselling service is available 7 days a week, 7 pm – 12 am AEST.
- Lifeline phone service: If you want to speak to someone on the phone, Lifeline is available 24/7 on 13 11 14.
If you’re unsure about contacting some of the services, read about calling a helpline to find out what to expect.