New Education Program by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Kicks Off Mental Health Awareness Month
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million people in the U.S., or nearly three percent of the population over the age of 18 in a given year. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is premiering the 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 45-minute film titled 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, Dr. 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,” said Dr. Paula Clayton , medical director for AFSP.
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,” said Dr. Clayton.
Living with Bipolar Disorder is being launched in conjunction with the start of Mental Health Awareness Month on May 1st. 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 program will also be available for sale at www.afsp.org starting June 1st.