learn: support services

Services to make a difference


use our information to explore your condition, learn privately at your own pace


keep abreast of the latest news, research and developments relating to bipolar


find solidarity with others and make a difference by sharing your own experiences


make a friend, perhaps somewhere else in the world, but sharing the same affinity

learn: support for sufferers

Getting Help

The usual first step to getting help is to speak to your GP.

It can help to keep a record of your moods. This can help you and your healthcare practitioner to understand your mood swings. We have a mood diary and a mood scale in our downloads section for you to use.

Your GP can’t diagnose bipolar disorder. Only a qualified psychiatrist can make a formal diagnosis. You should be referred to a psychiatrist if you have:

  • depression, and
  • have ever felt very excited or not in control of your mood or behaviour for at least 4 days in a row.

Your community mental health team (CMHT) can also refer you to a psychiatrist. Your GP or Physician should make an urgent referral to the CMHT if they think that you might have mania or severe depression. Or there is a chance that you are a danger to yourself or someone else.

I'm exhausted and feel overwhelmed. I just need someone to listen...

Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose because it affects everyone differently. Also, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be experienced by people who have other mental illness diagnoses. It can take a long time to get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

learn: support for carers

Care for Another

You might find it easier to support someone with bipolar disorder if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management.

You should be aware of what you can do if you are worried about their mental state. It can be helpful to know contact info for their mental health team or GP.

You could find out from your relative if they have a crisis plan. You could help your relative to make a crisis plan if they don’t have one.

As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. But you don’t have a legal right to this. The medical team should encourage the person that you care for to allow information to be shared with you.

Within our learning portal you can find out more information about:

  • Supporting someone with a mental illness
  • Getting help in a crisis
  • How to support someone with Suicidal thoughts
  • Responding to unusual behaviour
  • Confidentiality and information sharing
learn: support for carers

Care for Myself

Above all remember that your own mental health wellbeing is paramount; you can’t help a sufferer of bipolar if you are ill yourself.

You can speak to your own GP or healthcare practitioner.

You should be given your own assessment from your healthcare practitioner or through the local mental health services to work out what effect your caring role is having on your health.

This will ascertain what support you as an individual need. Such as practical support and emergency support. These are some other options for you:

  • Join a carers support group
  • Ask your local authority for a carer’s assessment
  • Read and learn about the condition
  • Apply for welfare benefits for carers, and
  • Find a carers’ support group in your area.