International Bipolar Foundation
From the International Bipolar Foundation, click to visit our website


Greetings all!

There has recently been a lot of media press about Charlie Sheen. I for one, have tried to stay out of it. I am not a psychiatrist, and even if I were, I have never met him.

Sadly, Charlie Sheen is troubled and seriously in need of help. Please join me in not joining those who find this funny. We need to teach our children, the public, that this is a man who is seriously ill, who needs our compassion and empathy, not our mockery.

If you are concerned about what bipolar disorder does look like, please watch this very informative video. 
 CNN Video

Thank you for helping to erase the devastating stigma that so often accompanies mental illness.


Muffy Walker

P.S. Please contact me at anytime Muffy 

March 12, 2011  
If you are in a crisis,
please call:

1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Join Our Mailing List
Bipolar Links  

International Bipolar Foundation is pleased to announce


2nd Thursday of each month; 5:00 - 7:00p.m.
(5:00p.m. social, 5:30-7:00 p.m. lecture and Q&A)
Sanford|Burnham Medical Research Institute, Building 12 Auditorium
10905 Road to the Cure, San Diego, CA 92121  Directions

April 14: Guest Speaker; Maggie Reese; author of Runaway Mind 



Runaway Mind relates the story of author Maggie Reese, detailing her journey with bipolar disorder. In this memoir, she reveals her battle with the illness during her young life. She shares her harrowing struggle with the illness through her own words along with the words of other women close to her -- her mom, sister, best friend, and mother-in-law. Reese offers readers her personal experience with this disorder and how she and her family dealt with it -- from symptoms to causes, to treatment and recovery.

The author's race with bipolar disorder will serve as inspiration to others who are enduring the same malady. Through Runaway Mind, she sends out a message of faith, provides strength, and encourages positive outlook in order to survive the illness and to further enjoy life to the fullest."When to Worry:  The 5 Most Common Mental Health Issues Teens Face and How to Get Help"  

Please R.S.V.P. to Ashley Reitzin:


Association of seasonality and premenstrual symptoms in Bipolar I and Bipolar II disorders
Journal of Affective Disorders, 02/28/2011
Choi J et al. - The results suggested that female patients with bipolar disorder experience seasonal and premenstrual changes in mood and behavior regardless of their mood episodes, and traits of seasonality and premenstrual symptoms are associated with each other.  read more here
Asenapine: A Review of its Use in the Management of Mania in Adults with Bipolar I Disorder
CNS Drugs, 03/01/2011
Chwieduk CM et al. - Asenapine is an atypical antipsychotic agent available in sublingual formulations (5 or 10mg) and indicated in the US (Saphris) for the acute treatment, as monotherapy or adjunctive therapy, of manic and mixed episodes and in the EU (Sycrest) for the treatment of moderate to severe manic episodes, in adult patients with bipolar I disorder.  read more here
Bipolar Disorder 'Under-Recognised' In Primary Care, UK
As many as 1 in 5 people being treated for depression in primary care could have
undiagnosed bipolar disorder, according to a new study published online by the
British Journal of Psychiatry.  Psychiatrists from Cardiff University invited
3,117 people living in South Wales and being treated for depression by their GP
to take part in the study. read more here
Study Examines Prevalence And Severity Of Bipolar Disorder Worldwide
Despite international variation in prevalence rates of bipolar spectrum
disorder, the severity and associated disorders are similar and treatment needs
are often unmet, especially in low-income countries, according to a report in
the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives
journals.  read more here
Strong Evidence That Genetic Variation In The Gene NCAN Is A Common Risk Factor
For Bipolar Disorder
A new study provides fascinating insight into the genetic basis of bipolar
disorder, a highly heritable mood disorder characterized by recurrent episodes
of mania and depression. The research, published by Cell Press online in the
American Journal of Human Genetics, identifies a previously unrecognized
susceptibility factor for bipolar disorder. read more here
Americans More Likely To Have Bipolar Disorder Than Anybody Else In The World
Approximately 4.4% of Americans have had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder at some
time during their lives, compared to a global average of 2.4%, and just 0.1% in
India, researchers have revealed in Archives of General Psychiatry. read more here
Repligen Reports Phase 2b Results For RG2417 For Bipolar Depression
Repligen Corporation (NASDAQ: RGEN) announced results of a Phase 2b clinical
trial of RG2417, an oral formulation of uridine, in patients with bipolar
depression. The study did not demonstrate a statistically significant
improvement in the symptoms of depression in all patients receiving RG2417 when
compared to placebo over the eight-week treatment period.  read more here
The role of ziprasidone in adjunctive use with lithium or valproate in maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder
Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 03/09/2011  Clinical Article
Bowden CL - Good evidence exists that adjunctive ziprasidone will likely provide greater overall efficacy coupled with good tolerability for at least a 6-month period than a strategy of continued monotherapy with a mood stabilizer.  read more here
Activation of suicidal ideation with adjunctive rufinamide in bipolar disorder
Epilepsy and Behavior, 03/03/2011 
Kaufman KR et al. - These findings suggest that adjunctive rufinamide may lead to increased suicidal ideation in patients with treatment-refractory bipolar disorder. Secondary to the course of severe bipolar disorder, rufinamide cannot be specifically implicated. read more here
Diet quality in bipolar disorder in a population-based sample of women
Journal of Affective Disorders, 03/04/2011
Jacka FN et al. - The data are largely concordant with results from dietary studies in unipolar depression. However, clinical recommendations cannot be made until the direction of the relationship between diet quality and bipolar disorder (BD) is determined.  read more here
Prevalence of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
British Journal of Psychiatry, 03/10/2011
Hassan A et al. - Some research suggests that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a higher than expected risk of bipolar affective disorder. In a UK sample of children with ADHD a current diagnosis of bipolar disorder was uncommon.  read more here
Bipolar affective disorder, type II, apparently precipitated by donepezil
International Psychogeriatrics, 03/11/2011
Collins C et al. - There is considerable evidence that pro-cholinergic agents can cause depressed mood. However, there are also published case reports of a rare association between cholinesterase inhibitors and mood elevation in patients with pre-existing major functional psychiatric disorders, or organic disorders other than dementia.  read more here
New Warning on Topamax and Pregnancy
By  Marcia Purse, Guide  March 7, 2011
The US Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that a strong warning has been issued regarding Topamax and birth defects known as cleft lip and cleft palate, collectively called oral clefts.
read more here
Bipolar Disorder Risk Heightened By Genetic Variant
March 5, 2011 8:56 PM
By Emily Jacobson
Bipolar disorder risk is increased by a previously unrecognized susceptibility factor, according to a new study. The research, led by Dr. Sven Cichon from the University of Bonn in Germany, found that genetic variation in the gene neurocan (NCAN) showed a significant association with bipolar disorder in thousands of patients. These findings were replicated in a follow-up study of tens of thousands of individual samples of bipolar disorder. read more here
FDA Advisory Panel Favors ECT in High-Risk Category
Aaron Levin
The Food and Drug Administration begins the task of deciding just how tightly regulated devices used for electroconvulsive therapy should be. read more here
Bulgarian Doctors: Every 5th Bulgarian Affected by Depression
Society | March 2, 2011, Wednesday
More and more men in Bulgaria and worldwide are affected by depression. Photo by BGNES
Every fourth family in Bulgaria has at least one member suffering from a psychiatric disorder, according to Dr. Vladimir Sotirov. Sotirov tells Bulgarian media Wednesday that nearly 200 000 Bulgarians have been affected by depression and bipolar disord
read more here
Forest Laboratories And Gedeon Richter Plc Announce Results From A Phase II Study Of Cariprazine As Adjunctive Therapy In Major Depressive Disorder
Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: FRX) and Gedeon Richter Plc. announced preliminary top-line results from an 8-week Phase II clinical trial of the novel, investigational antipsychotic agent cariprazine as adjunctive therapy in major depressive disorder. Cariprazine is currently undergoing Phase III trials for the separate and additional indications of schizophrenia and bipolar mania.
Bipolar study seeks subjects
A study by the University of Kansas Medical School in Wichita is geared towards children aged 8-12 with symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder.
The school is looking for children in Pittsburg, Hays, and Garden City to participate. Call for more information:  (316) 293-2805.

healthy place 

Attempted Suicide

On this week's HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show (see below), our guest Paula discusses her two previous suicide attempts stemming from severe depression that started when she was a child. Today, she is very thankful that her suicide attempts were unsuccessful.

Unfortunately, mental illness and suicide go hand-in-hand. People with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and alcoholism face a disproportionately high rate of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

A 2007 Journal of the American Medical Association article cites a study showing many people who attempt suicide want to get away from a bad life situation and want relief from:

Bad thoughts or feelings
Feeling ashamed, guilty, or feeling of being a burden to others
Feeling like a victim
Feelings of rejection, loss, or loneliness
And 10% of those who attempt suicide, eventually succeed.

On the HealthyPlace website, we have plenty of excellent information about suicide.  


Sunset Bay Academy Describes How Teen Bipolar Disorder Can Impact School Performance, Jobs and Relationships, and Disrupt Daily Life  

Sunset Bay Academy helps parents understand how to tell the difference between normal hormonal changes and bipolar disorder in teens and how this behavior can affect teenagers in their school and family life.


San Diego, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) March 01, 2011


Recognizing the problem in teens is the first step to getting it under control.


As parents often believe that the teen's mood swings are due to hormonal changes, which their bodies are facing during their adolescent period; little do we know that Bipolar Disorder (BD) has been seriously affecting adolescents and their families. Teen Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder that causes extreme mood swings and often it's grouped in teen "mania" and Teen Depression.


Teens experiencing mania often show erratic behavior, feeling overly energetic, impulsive and irritable. Depression is a mood state that is generally characterized by pessimism, sadness, inadequacy and decrease in activity or reactivity. Bipolar Disorder is an illness, although scientists have not grasped a full understanding of this illness in teens, they believe that it is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Scientists have not yet found a cure, but with the right medications and proper psychotherapy it can be controlled. When someone is suffering from an undiagnosed Teen Bipolar Disorder, their families are also suffering the consequences of these intense mood swings. Episodes of rapid change between depression and mania are present, whether mild to moderate or moderate to extreme, these are moreover altered by external factors, such as stress, medications, and environmental aspects that can trigger severe out of control events. As parents we need to provide the proper therapy and environment to help our teens.


What are the most commons signs of mania and depression we need to identify in our teens?


Mania: Extreme motor activity, erratic behavior, impulsiveness, irritability, violent outbursts, inappropriate elation, inability to focus, lack of judgment, insomnia, sexual obsession, excessively rapid thought and speech, an unrealistic sense of one's abilities, talents and skills.


Depression[i]: Sense of inadequacy, feelings of hopelessness, prolonged sadness or boredom, a feeling of emptiness, loss of interest or energy, headaches and body aches, alterations in sleeping or eating habits, excessive tiredness, pessimism, feeling anxious, discouraging, or blameworthy, suicidal thoughts and/or behavior.


Teens showing behaviors of Bipolar Disorder should seek professional aid. Therapeutic Boarding Schools offer a more monitored and safer treatment to properly assist the teen's needs.


The origins of Bipolar Disorder are still unknown, so far it seems to have a genetic component, and therefore teens whose close relatives suffer from this disorder are more likely to develop this illness. Scientists are still trying to understand Teen BD. The number of teens who are affected is still uncertain, but what they do know is that about ten million Americans have BD and in most cases, symptoms were present in their late teenage years. Although, researchers believe that it may begin much younger in some individuals. Parenting teens is challenging, let alone an undiagnosed or diagnosed Bipolar Disorder teenager, often because in our home environment we lack of tools and resources to help our teens to be successful.


If your child is showing associated behavior of Bipolar Disorder, your family will get the help needed at Sunset Bay Academy while keeping your teen in a safe and secure environment.


[i] Note that many psychiatrists regard anhedonia, a general lack of interest in the pleasures of life, as a defining characteristic of depression.


About Sunset Bay Academy


A Full Service Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School, helping troubled teens ages 12-17 appreciate their second chance at a new life with strong family values in a structured and supportive environment.





As eighteen-year-old Amanda spirals into mania, her father, psychiatrist Dr. Jerry Benson, sees the realization of his worst fears: his daughter is not just moody, but truly ill. With his words, his diagnosis-manic depressive illness-his world and that of his family is forever altered. Carol, Amanda's mother, struggles with the guilt and shame of having raised a "crazy" daughter. Christy, Amanda's fifteen-year-old sister, denies the illness; after all, my sister's a bitch is so much easier to accept.

cocoa puffs 



Meanwhile, the Bensons' extended family offers up everything from unconditional support to uncomfortable scrutiny as Amanda careens between bouts of frightening violence, cosmic euphoria, and suicidal despair. Then there's Ryan, an architecture student who is initially ensnared by Amanda's manic sexuality, but is ultimately captured and held throughout the chaos by the force of love and strength of family.


Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?: A Family's Journey Through Bipolar Disorder follows a family through the tragedy of bipolar disorder, but it's not tragic. It's funny, sad, and thought provoking-and as real and as raw as mental illness itself.


A BEXHILL resident suffering with bipolar disorder has written an autobiographical account of what it's like to spend a lifetime living with the condition.

David Thomas's book, Unsettling, gives a fascinating insight of a journey of self-discovery surrounding a life filled with extreme mood-swings, extreme behaviour and ultimately understanding what makes him tick.

However, David is quick to point out that his book is not a detailed account of bipolar and that anyone looking for medical information on the condition needs to "look in a different section of the book shop".

He said: "I'm just an ordinary chap writing about how the illness has shaped my life. Every now and again my wires become crossed and I don't function as I'm supposed to."

David describes his book as being "a somewhat quirky and slightly oddball personal account of a lifetime of unsettling events apparently brought on by bipolar disorder".

It is without doubt a colourful story of David's life from when he was a small boy in the 1950s, living with his entire family in a couple of rooms in a bombed-out slum area of Liverpool, through a range of personal tragedies, moving around the UK then the world from job to job, from one town to another, until finally ending up - in excess of 70 moves later - living in Bexhill.

Describing the language of the book as being "frequently fruity" and "occasionally offensive" David said it "might upset those of a tender disposition", but adds: "I simply see it as being honest and make no apology for it."

Whatever preconceptions anyone might have about purchasing and reading a book which tells the story of someone living with a mental health disorder, one thing is certain, right from the foreword this book has that indefinable special something makes a good read hard to put down.

David's whirlwind life story is both enthralling and entertaining, with a mix of laugh out loud humour, frequent shocking behaviour, and heartbreaking sadness at the turn of a page.

Unsettling is published by mental health publisher Chipmunkapublishing, with support from the Arts Council.

And as such there are a few typos and grammatical errors as students are used to proof read pages. In no way does this detract from the quality of the penmanship. It costs £12.99 and is available at bookshops or online at:

Come Walk with us!!

 NAMI Walk 2011 - Saturday, April 16

                                                         8 am - Balboa Park

Join the International Bipolar Foundation Team and  help us show our support  for a great organization. 

It does not cost anything to be part of the walk. Make a fashion statement while promoting our cause with our brand new IBPF t-shirts.  Dogs are welcome.  Come and enjoy an inspirational morning in beautiful Balboa Park, and help us make our goal of 30 walkers this year!

Join our team here

5k Walk · Saturday, April 16, 2011
Balboa Park · 6th & Quince · 6:30AM Registration Opens
8:00AM Walk Begins

(note: IBPF has made a contribution to NAMI for you: you do not need to make a personal donation)
For more information, contact Ashley or Karen)

Rage Against the {washing} Machine: Removing the stains and stigma surrounding pediatric mental illness.

Raising kids is tough work. Raising a special needs child can be downright exhausting! Raising a child with bipolar disorder can be heart breaking in many ways. I can only try to imagine what it's like for LeBella, day in and day out. To deal with the things she can't control in her own head and heart, right along with being a kid where you have so very little control. It's no wonder she often feels, well, out of control. And me? I felt pretty much out of control, too. Slowly, though we're both learning to find some control and it's improved so many things!

Are you or someone you know raising a child with bipolar disorder? Do you wish you had a community to turn to for support, advice, maybe just to vent when it's been a rough day? Do you feel you've grown and learned from your experience and want to share with other parents? If you answered yes to any of these questions please join me every Tuesday at My Kid's Bipolar, now What?? click here

I am working hard to make this group well rounded, supportive, and interactive! Do you have an idea to improve it? Let me know!

bpmag logo

U.S tops the world in prevalence of bipolar

March 7, 2011-According to new research from the World Health Organization, the United States has the highest lifetime rate of bipolar disorder among 11 countries included in the World Mental Health Survey Initiative. The U.S. rate is 4.4 percent of the adult population, compared to a global average of 2.4 percent. The findings were drawn from face-to-face interviews with 61,392 adults in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, and published in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Researchers also looked at symptom severity, patterns of co-existing illnesses and use of mental health services.  They found worldwide similarities in the nature of symptoms, presence of a co-existing disorder (especially panic attacks) and disruption to work and relationships. Overall, fewer than half of those with lifetime bipolar received mental health treatment. In lower-income countries, however, only 25.2 percent reported contact with the mental health system.
(Source: JAMA & Archives)

club logo
club excite

XciteSteps is pleased to offer a horse program specifically for
children and teens experiencing a disability. This program offers
students the opportunity to learn about horses, riding, and have fun
outdoors.       While at the ranch, riders will complete activity stations
including: learning about horses breeds, colors, and equipment,
learning about grooming, feeding, and caring for horses, as well as
learning to mount and ride horses. In addition, youth will have an
opportunity to socialize, have positive interactions, and participate
in a community outing with peers. Our purpose and mission for this
horse program is to provide a sense of pride and fulfillment through
animal interaction and athletic movement. We will make sure each
participant receives personalized instruction ensuring success at
their own level. The Club will run from March 20th thru April 24th
every Sunday from 930-12pm (The flyer is attached). Please sign your
child up by contacting Pam Machala at or  858
703-7305. Click here for flyer  

Scientists Uncover New Genetic Susceptibility to Bipolar Disorder
By  Marcia Purse, Guide  March 7, 2011
DNAOne more step has been made in discovering the genetic causes of bipolar disorder. A large study of the human genome has identified a variation in a gene called neurocan (NCAN) as being significantly associated with BP.
"Our results provide strong evidence that genetic variation in the gene NCAN is a common risk factor for bipolar disorder," concludes lead research Dr. Sven Cichon. "Further work is needed now to learn more about the biological processes that NCAN is involved in and how NCAN variants disturb neuronal processes in patients with bipolar disorder."

It is well known that bipolar disorder has a strong heredity factor. While it remains unknown just how identifying genes and gene variants associated with illnesses will be used, I always feel positive when I read that research into the causes of bipolar disorder is producing concrete results.

Parents, teachers, and administrators are searching for reliable information about reading programs that have research that supports their effectiveness.

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, you will learn reasons for reading failure, qualities of effective reading programs, and requirements for research based reading. We'll also tell you how to find research based reading programs.

How can parents prevail at due process? You must learn how to use letters, documents, and independent witnesses to prove your case.
Your job is to present your case in an organized manner. Give the decision-maker enough good factual information to reach a conclusion in your favor. Make sure you read each section in today's issue to find out how.

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, you'll find a new success story of how one family prevailed at due process - they refused to give up! Read their story, followed by the sample letter to request due process and the two different decisions in the case.

Bipolar Disorder Underdiagnosed in Some Countries, Severity Similar

By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor                                   people

New research suggests the severity of bipolar disorder is similar in both affluent nations and low-income countries. But its prevalence, or the proportion of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, varies by country and treatment needs often go unmet.

As reported in the current issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, "Bipolar disorder (BP) is responsible for the loss of more disability-adjusted life-years than all forms of cancer or major neurologic conditions such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease, primarily because of its early onset and chronicity across the life span."

However, despite the fact that the disease is found across the globe, "Few prior international studies of BP have included information on severity or disability associated with this condition."

Researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health conducted cross-sectional, face-to-face, household surveys to describe the prevalence, symptom severity, patterns of co-existing illnesses, and patterns of service utilization for bipolar spectrum disorder (BPS) in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative.

Surveys of 61,392 adults were carried out in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Bulgaria, Romania, China, India, Japan, Lebanon, and New Zealand.

"In a combined sample of 61,392 adults from 11 countries, the total lifetime prevalences were 0.6 percent for BP-I, 0.4 percent for BP-II, and 1.4 percent for sub-threshold BP, yielding a total BPS prevalence estimate of 2.4 percent worldwide," the authors reported.

The severity of symptoms was greater for depressive than manic episodes. Approximately 74 percent of respondents with depression and 50.9 percent of respondents with mania reported severe role impairment.

Three-quarters of those with BPS also met criteria for at least one other disorder. Anxiety disorders, especially panic attacks, were the most common comorbid condition.

The surveys found that treatment needs for BPS are often unmet. "Less than half of those with lifetime BPS received mental health treatment, particularly in low-income countries, where only 25.2 percent reported contact with the mental health system," the authors write.

The authors believe their findings document the magnitude and major impact of BP worldwide and underscore the urgent need for increased recognition and treatment facilitation.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journal



2-1-1 San Diego connects people with community, health and disaster services through a free, 24/7 stigma-free phone service and searchable online database. 2-1-1 serves the entire population of San Diego County as the only free, confidential, dialing code service in San Diego. By using the power of technology and innovation, 2-1-1 San Diego connects people to the help they need. 




Licensed Mental Health Board and Care Facilities

This site has been developed to help individuals and families locate available licensed, adult board and care facilities for persons with mental illness, ages 18 to 59. Licensing information is provided by the State of California, Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division in San Diego.

As an information and referral agency, making information available is important. 2-1-1 San Diego does not recommend or rate any facility. However, we hope that listing these facilities in a central location will assist those looking for residential care for this vulnerable population.

2-1-1 San Diego updates the board and care bed availability once a month. However, availability can change at any moment. Please contact the facility directly to get the most current information.

Before deciding where to place your loved one, it is important that you:

Contact the facility for additional information
Schedule an appointment to review the facility's public file at the Community Care Licensing office at: 7575 Metropolitan Drive, Suite 109, San Diego
Schedule an appointment to view the facility
Ask questions - lots of questions! Click here for Frequently Asked Questions
Drop by and visit the facility unexpectedly
If pleased with your findings, ask about bed availability based on your needs
Report any concerns regarding these facilities to:
Community Care Licensing
Ask for the Duty Officer of the Day - Adult Care Program 




The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation is dedicated to fostering awareness, understanding and research for early-onset Bipolar Disorder. The Foundation is on a Quest For The Test™ to find an empirical test for Bipolar Disorder so that early detection and intervention become a reality. web site here 


New Insight Into ADHD

Thanks in part to a Norwegian research biobank, researchers have generated important new insight into ADHD and how the condition manifests itself. Among other things, they have found that there is some overlap between ADHD and bipolar disorders with regard to rapid mood swings.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) occurs on a worldwide basis and appears to affect two to five per cent of the population, depending on the method of measurement used and the population groups examined. Although the condition has been recognised for over 100 years, insight into its causes, prevention and treatment remains limited.

In 2005, a long-term, interdisciplinary research project on the clinical and biological factors associated with ADHD ("ADHD in Norway: Basic and translational studies") was launched in Bergen with funding from the Research Council's Programme for Mental Health (PSYKISK). An extensive international collaboration has been established to follow up the research results in the coming years.

A research biobank containing clinical informational and biological samples from Norwegian ADHD patients and their families, as well as from control subjects, was established as well. Using this data as a basis, the researchers have sought to map the connection between ADHD symptoms and other mental disorders.

Mood swings

"One of our findings is that there is some overlap between AHDH and bipolar disorders with regard to rapid mood swings. It is now being discussed whether mood swings should be included in the official diagnosis criteria for ADHD," explains Jan Haavik, project manager and professor at Haukeland University Hospital and the University of Bergen.

The researchers have also shown that the Norwegian population has many genetic variants that regulate the synthesis of the pheromones dopamine and serotonin. Some of these genetic variants are associated with ADHD symptoms.

Sources: Research Council of Norway, AlphaGalileo Foundation.

50% more students with mental disorders, says educator

Some students suicidal, says educator

BY KIMONE THOMPSON Features Editor - Sunday
Sunday, March 06, 2011
jamaican students
MORE and more high school students are presenting with varying manifestations of mental disorders, an educator who works with students from institutions across the country said yesterday.
Sandra Bramwell-Riley, director of Versan Educational Services, a private consulting agency that coaches students for study abroad, said the figure could be as much as 50 per cent more over a three-year period.
read more

Bi-polar princess and courageous mental health advocate Victoria Maxwell

In partnership with Crest.BD, Victoria Maxwell uses her love of theatre to raise mental health awareness.
Emily Rose Posted: Mar 1st, 2011
canada princess

Victoria Maxwell is an award-winning actress who has worked with famous leading men like Johnny Depp, David Duchovny, and John Travolta. She's a mental health educator and playwright with over two decades of experience.

Maxwell is also mentally ill.

After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety, and psychosis, Maxwell became active in the promotion of mental health awareness and addressing stigma. During the past decade, she has combined her theatre background, professional knowledge, and personal experiences with mental illness to offer a unique perspective on the lived experience of mental illness.

Her critically acclaimed one-woman shows "Crazy for Life" and "Funny... You Don't Look Crazy," debuted to sold-out audiences in England, New Zealand, the United States and Canada. Irreverently funny and charismatic, Maxwell infuses each of her performances with important messages about mental health awareness interspersed with her personal history.

Maxwell is the creative director of Crazy for Life Co., a company that aims to educate health care professionals about mental illness and workplace wellness. She also presents customized workshops for conferences, in-house training, and a range of services for individuals and families, colleges and universities, and corporations. Her latest project is a one-woman show being developed in collaboration with Crest.BD.

Crest.BD is a collaborative research team studying the psychosocial issues in bipolar disorder. Current research includes the impact of recovery narratives in bipolar illness, attitudes towards the police, and the impact of bipolar disorder on employment experiences. A central tenant of Crest.BD is fostering and promoting community based research for individuals with bipolar disorder and their family members. Crest.BD organizes a number of free events open to the public throughout the greater Vancouver area.

I recently attended a community engagement night organized by Crest.BD and was fortunate enough to sit down with Victoria Maxwell. Taken with her vivacious energy and charisma, her passion for raising mental health awareness was immediately apparent.

When asked how she became involved in mental health advocacy, Maxwell recounted her initial struggle in accepting her diagnosis. After being diagnosed in 1992, she "didn't know what bipolar disorder was." She described her concerns about taking medication and the fear that her personality would be pathologized. She had difficulty accepting her diagnosis due to the lack of knowledge available.

One of the biggest barriers to treatment people with mental illness face, she said, is this lack of open dialogue and discussion. "I wanted to see more discussion to prevent suffering and stigma [in mental illness]," Maxwell said.

Stigma, and particularly self-stigma, is one of the biggest barriers to treatment for mental illness. Realizing that open dialogue was one of the most effective ways to disarm the prejudices associated with mental illness, she became a mental health educator and an advocate for mental health awareness. "It is important to be creative, to share stories and to listen," she said.

This direct contact can only be achieved through individuals speaking out about mental health and illness, however, she cautioned that this disclosure should be appropriate to the situation. "The onus is on us [people with a mental illness] to stand up and be counted," Maxwell said. "I think if all of us do, then we will be stronger for it".

When asked whether she had any suggestions for people living with a mental illness, Maxwell offered some powerful advice. "Be as compassionate towards yourself as you can. Reach out for help, and if you don't get it, reach out again until you find someone who cares. There is help and it does get better."

Mental illness affects an estimated one in five Canadians throughout their lifetime, the Public Health Agency states. Societal impacts of mental illness are pervasive, impacting individuals, their families, health care systems and the community at large. Research has shown that the estimated economic annual cost of mental illness in Canada is $14.4 billion. According to the World Health Organization, mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Canada.

Fortunately, there is help available for individuals with mental illness. Thanks to people like Victoria Maxwell, who has the courage to stand up and be counted, mental health awareness is being pushed to the forefront of Canadian consciousness.

Victoria Maxwell's play will debut in May, and is open to mental health professionals and to individuals with a mental illness and their families. For more information about Maxwell, visit her website and her blog at Psychology Today.

For more information about research, team members, and knowledge exchange activities conducted by Crest.BD, visit


’Forward the newsletter from across "the Pond"

Incorporating BI-POLAR NEWS

read newsletter here 



NAMI Walk 


TAKE TIME TODAY to register YOUR WALK TEAM!  It is important that we show up together, unified, and fighting to end stigma and discrimination for all those with a mental health diagnosis and their families! 



IEP Day Conference
28th Annual Involved Exceptional Parents' (IEP) Day Conference
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley, San Diego


You're invited to the 5th Annual CAHM Forum

Coping with the Chaos in our Lives:

Skills to effectively manage stress, improve communication, and promote healthier living


Saturday, March 19, 2011, 8:30 am - 3:00 pm

Hosted by Abraxas High School, 12450 Glen Oak Road, Poway CA 92064


Register and donate online: or (new site active by Jan. 28) Register by e-mail: and donate at Forum check-in/checks payable to: NAMI San Diego. Visa & MasterCard available onsite. Questions about the Forum? CAHM message line 858-395-3950


Recovery Innovations of CA
 2011 San Diego Wellness and Recovery Summit
"Squashing the Stigma"

Tuesday March 22, 2011
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Town and Country Resort and Convention Center
Registration Deadline: February 25, 2011
Recovery Innovations of CA
Phone: 858.274.4650


 Lunch & Lecture with Margaret Trudeau co-hosted by IBPF & JFS

Thursday, May 25, 11:30a. Hyatt Aventine

For more information please contact Ashley Reitzin 


 2011 U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress:


November 8-9, 2011

Las Vegas

Conference dates: November 7-10

The Venetian Hotel & Congress Center


The 2011 Prospectus and sponsorship information will be available next month. To view current information and documents, please visit 


About the International Bipolar Foundation
International Bipolar Foundation is a not for profit organization based in San Diego whose mission is to eliminate Bipolar Disorder through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support services for all affected; and to erase associated stigma through public education.
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A Word About Funding
Please note that International Bipolar Foundation does not represent any pharmaceutical company or give any speeches for a pharmaceutical company nor does our site receive advertising dollars from any company.