March 2015

When I think of March, I think of the advent of spring. I see daffodils and crocuses pushing their heads through the cold, frozen earth. I hear robins singing in the trees, and I feel the warmth of the sun. But, I also know that with the change in season and the clocks, that my son, like so many, can feel the twinges of an encroaching mania.Here's an article I wrote on coping with theHighs & Lows of Spring. I hope you find it helpful, click here.

For those who want to help us increase awareness & decrease stigma, we invite you to join us on March 30th and celebrate WORLD BIPOLAR DAY. Below you can read more about how you can get involved! 

To your health,

Muffy Walker  


Jeffery Zacharias, LCSW

"The Interplay of Bipolar Disorder, Trauma and Addiction in the LGBT Community"

Wednesday, March 4th, at 9:00 am PST

In the LGBT community, the link between mental illness most notably bipolar disorder, trauma and addiction is undeniable. With heightened visibility comes the need to strengthen the clinical skills required to work alongside this stigmatized population. This workshop will address the mental health issues specific to the LGBT community, examine how addiction progresses due to mental illness and trauma and examine the best practices utilized to address illness, trauma and addiction.  Real-life clinical case examples, as well as evidence-based best practices and experiential components, will provide participants with insight into the importance of assisting those at risk. 

Jeff is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), Certified Advanced Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CAADC), Board Registered Interventionist (BRI-I) and Registered Dual Disorder Professional (RDDP) with extensive clinical experience in both the mental health and addictions fields. 


Currently, he is the President/Clinical Director of New Hope Recovery Center located in Chicago as well as maintains a private practice there.  His areas of interest including working within the LGBTQI community, all forms of addiction including with an individual client as well as their partners, severe and persistent mental health issues, personality disorders and trauma and its impact on recovery. Read more here


Space is limited. Reserve your seat now at:

Evonne Agnello: 

Recovery From Trauma

Wednesday, March 11th , at 9:00 am PST


Evonne Agnello illustrates the healing possible by speaking openly about mental illness. She describes her recovery from depression following the suicides of her father and brother. Her colorful slides have clear, simple, messages. There's even some levity and song.  

Evonne was first treated for depression in college and later diagnosed bipolar II. She describes how she forged a positive recovery and reads passages from her book, "Shaking Shame from Mental Illness." The stories offer help and comfort to those dealing with trauma or depression. She will explore mental illness from both sides - within the mind of the sufferer and of those watching the suffering - and sends hope for all. She shows that mental illness is highly treatable and manageable and need not poison your life. Her insights may reveal clues to your own experiences, and as one reader found, "...was cathartic on many levels." Her intention is to broaden understanding of mental illness.

Those who suffer must keep trying to find solutions because the possible and probable result is a life worth living. Writing helped her claim peace about the suicides of her father and brother, neutralize pain, and find meaning in suffering. Painful memories slowed diffused their power to grip her with sadness. Agnello said, "It was clear that it would have been more painful not to have worked toward catharsis, so my motivation was seldom lacking. My compulsion to tell these stories and the constantly refreshing feelings writing them moved me forward." Her message is an example of the biopsychosocial (BPS) model, popularly referred to as the mind body connection. 

Evonne started writing as a young girl and has never stopped. She worked 30 years as a newspaper journalist, writing stories about others before writing a memoir, "Shaking Shame from Mental Illness." Read more here


For more information, visit:


Space is limited. Reserve your seat now at: 


Serena Goldsmith: 
Story of Hope and Recovery
Wednesday, March 18th , at 9:00 am PST


In this webinar, Serena will be sharing her experiences from her 23 year-long journey of recovery from symptoms of severe bipolar disorder and Crohn's disease.  Serena will discuss the particular symptoms of bipolar disorder type I that she experienced and how they affected her life, along with her additional challenges with Crohn's disease and the ways in which her mental and physical symptoms impacted each other.  Serena will also talk about the things that she has learned on her quest for mind, body, and spirit health that have enabled her to become well and maintain her wellness.  Specifically, Serena will share eight factors/lifestyle changes that she has discovered and implemented in her life which have greatly supported her on her recovery path.  Incorporating these health-promoting principles into her daily life has allowed her to achieve a level of wellness that has made it possible for her to live a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life and to work toward creating the life of her dreams.  There will be an opportunity to ask Serena questions at the conclusion of her talk. 


Space is limited: Reserve your seat now at:




Dr. Joanne Nicholson:

Creating Options for Family Recovery: Parental Mental Health is a Family Affair

Wednesday March 25th, at 9:00 am PST


Successful community living for a great many individuals living with mental illness involves family life and parenting. In the past, the focus has often been on who will take care of the adult living with mental illness, rather than on the notion that an adult living with mental illness may be, in fact, taking care of others. The goal of this presentation is to bring attention to the needs of parents living with mental illness and their families, and to offer suggestions for creating opportunities for success in parenting and family life. By doing so, outcomes for both adults and children will be improved. While mental health services are traditionally organized to meet an individual's needs, recovery can be understood as a process through which the well being, functioning and quality of life of all family members is enhanced. Key concepts and processes of a family recovery model will be discussed. Strategies for advocating for and embracing a family-informed approach will be recommended.

Joanne Nicholson, Ph.D. is a clinical and research psychologist, Professor of Psychiatry at the Psychiatric Research Center of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). Dr. Nicholson has established an active program of research on parents with mental illnesses and their families, in partnership with people in recovery. 


Space is limited. Reserve your seat now at: 


After registering you will receive a confirmation email
containing information about joining the Webinar.

- an initiative of the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD), the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF), and  the International Society for Bipolar Disorders  (ISBD) - will be celebrated each year on March 30th, the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed as 
probably having bipolar disorder.  

The vision of WBD is to bring world awareness to bipolar disorders and to eliminate social stigma. Through international collaboration, the goal of World Bipolar Day is to bring the world population information about bipolar disorders that will educate and improve sensitivity towards the illness.  

In honor of World Bipolar Day, our co-founder and Chairman, Muffy Walker, will be giving a free Webinar about increasing awareness and knowledge about bipolar disorder. Please join her by registering here.

Click here to join IBPF's 
Entries must be submitted by March 15th
For more information contact Ashley Jacobs or 858-764-2496
View our video invite here!
                   OUR NEW IBPF BLOGGERS

Allison Strong

Yvette Hess


Meet them here!
   Do you live in the 49th District in CA?                              Unsure? Check here
You, your spouse, voting kids, etc., PLEASE take 5 minutes to call Congressman Darrell Issa's office and ask him to please support our anti-stigma bill by bringing it to the floor at 202-225-3906.  


H.R. ES 572 Resolution for designation of the first full week of May as                            ''National Mental Health No Stigma Week''


Sample conversation:

I am calling to you to express my support for the H.R. ES 572 Resolution for designation of the first full week of May as ''National Mental Health No Stigma Week'', and I am asking that you also support it by bringing it to the floor.


If you prefer to write, click here for a sample letter.

As you may already be aware, a similar resolution was passed in California; ACR110 California Mental Health No Stigma Week.


Please forward this to friends & family in 49th district, ask your Democratic or Republican clubs to help!


Story of Hope and Recovery

                       Loudly Whispering Mommy: My Story

                    by Jessica Christenbury

So far, my story is one of hope and in the beginnings of recovery. Being a mother during these past few years, as I was just recently diagnosed, has been the most difficult part of the journey towards recovery. The guilt during these times has been almost unbearable. How could I feel so down when I have so much to be happy about? How can I be strong for these two children when I can barely lift my head? Rosalee is 3 and Walker will be 2 in April.

My depression sunk to new depths after the children were born, prompting therapists and doctors to believe it was postpartum depression. But I knew something was definitely wrong, not just postpartum.





Board member daughter included!

**International Bipolar Foundation Scientific Advisory Board Member(s)
* Honorary Board Member(s)


You have an opportunity to help us make even more of a difference in our community. GreatNonprofits - a review site like TripAdvisor - is honoring highly reviewed nonprofits with their 2015 Top-Rated List. Won't you help us raise visibility for our work by posting a review of your experience with us? All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It's easy and only takes 3 minutes! 


Create Your Review Here! 


Check out our YouTube informational videos. Click on the icon to view the latest: 
Visit our sharecare page and ask our panel of experts a question. Click on the icon to get started!
Watch our latest webinar video below: 
"Beyond Diagnosis: A Message Of Hope" With Lizabeth Schuch -

Follow us on FacebookLike us on Facebook and twitter Follow us on Twitter for current and relevant discussions and information.

IBPF Webinar March 11th

The suicide of her father hits Evonne Agnello hard, but when her brother follows suit four years later, she wonders if fate will send her along the same path.

Grappling with the deaths, handling the family business, and dealing with a mother needing care hundreds of miles away, Evonne finds depression pounding on her door. But she stands firm--after some wobbles--determined to not let the intruder destroy her life. Evonne releases her pain through writing, lets the Olympic Rainforest wash her in solace, and confronts her brother's mental illness in his writing.

Read More





Watch IBPF webinar here

"A valuable book, fresh with insights." -Pete Earley, author of Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness Until she experienced her first manic episode at the age of seventeen, author Lizabeth D. Schuch had little knowledge of mental illness. From that point on, her life would never be the same. In her memoir, More Than Bipolar, she discusses her twenty-five years of experience with bipolar disorder, sharing the wisdom attained to break the hold of stigma, shame, and fear surrounding this illness. Schuch reveals the full reality of what living with this illness looks like.  

Read more 




More than 50 years ago, President Kennedy gave an address to Congress that launched the community mental health movement in the U.S. This movement involved a vast and complex effort to replace the wholesale institutionalization of people with serious mental illnesses with community mental health centers, public education on mental illness, and prevention efforts. The mission and main thrust of this new movement, however, were quite simple: we would provide effective mental health treatment to people in their home communities and provide the conditions for them to have 'a life in the community.' 

Read more



This much-needed volume gives clinicians essential strategies for managing the complexities of bipolar disorder and tailoring treatment to each patient's changing needs. Highly readable, accessible, and pragmatic, the book provides expert guidance on critically important treatment questions. It addresses which medications to try and at what dosages, what psychosocial interventions are most helpful at different phases of the illness, how to continually monitor and fine-tune treatment to keep patients functioning well, and how to involve family members productively. 






The Close sisters are descended from very prominent and wealthy ancestors. When the Close sisters were very young, their parents joined a cult called the MRA, or Moral Rearmament. The family was suddenly uprooted to a cult school in Switzerland and, ultimately, to the Belgian Congo where their father became a surgeon in the war ravaged republic, and ultimately the personal physician to President Mobutu. Shortly after the girls returned to the US for boarding school, Jessie first started to exhibit symptoms of severe bipolar disorder (she would later learn that this ran in the family, a well-kept secret).  

Read more 




Watch IBPF webinar here

In Walks on the Margins, Kathy offers a valiant and unapologetic struggle of a mother trying to find a semblance of her son as they are both wrapped in the turmoil of bipolar disorder. Exuding the most resilient love for her son and family, Kathy's narrative about living with bipolar shows how it feels to be in the circle of those intimately affected by mental illness and in a world beset by institutional failure.

Read more






Dr. Amador's research on poor insight was inspired by his attempts to help his brother Henry, who developed schizophrenia, accept treatment. Like tens of millions of others diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Henry did not believe he was ill. In this latest edition, 6 new chapters have been added, new research on anosognosia (lack of insight) is presented and new advice, relying on lessons learned from thousands of LEAP seminar participants, is given to help readers quickly and effectively use Dr. Amador s method for helping someone accept treatment. 

Read more

My name is Dr. Mark Matthews. I am a researcher at Cornell University where we are looking at the use of technology by people like yourself who have bipolar disorder. This questionnaire will help my colleagues and me better understand your use of technology which will in turn inform our design of computer tools for people with bipolar disorder.
Please read this form carefully before agreeing to take part in the study.


Sharp Mesa Vista is currently enrolling men and women aged 18-75 with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder for outpatient clinical trials. Eligible participants may receive all study-related care at no cost, and may be reimbursed for time and travel. Participation is confidential and trials are safely conducted under the supervision of experienced physicians and research specialists. For more information, or to see if you qualify for a study, contact

Tonya Bell, RN at 858-836-8373 or

Learn More Here

If you are:
  • Between the ages of 21 and 65
  • Have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder

You are invited to participate in this research study to see how effective the MoodSwings website is at improving the well-being of people with bipolar disorder.



How to Participate

To determine if you are eligible, you will first be asked a few questions on the phone.

You will also be interviewed in person and have a physical exam to make sure it is safe for you to participate.

If you are interested, please call our study coordinator at

(631) 638-2053 



To be eligible you must:

-Be between the ages of 18 and 65

-Have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder

-not use drugs or drink a lot of alcohol


If you choose to participate, you will have a brain scan to measure certain receptors in the brain that may be related to bipolar disorder.  You will be paid a possible total of $400 or more. (HIC 1101007933)


If you are interested and think you may be eligible please call our study coordinator at


The UCSD Department of Psychiatry is seeking volunteers for a research study involving genetics and medication response in Bipolar Disorder.

You may be eligible to participate in the study if you:
*are at least 18 years of age
*have been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder
*are willing to take Lithium for mood stabilization

To learn more about the study, please call: 858-642-3590
or, visit our website here 

BEAM is a comprehensive, early-intervention treatment program for Bipolar I Disorder which uses strength-based services to create a two-year plan designed specifically to put individuals and families back on track.

To be eligible for the BEAM program, participants must:

*Have a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder *Have experienced one manic episode

  but no more than three; and
*Be 14-35 or younger;
*Be a San Francisco or San Mateo County Resident *Have Any health insurance (or      uninsured) 

Learn More Here



Psych Congress is driven to provide practical, clinically relevant education based on the very latest in scientific understanding. The educational agenda concentrates on advances in mental health care, individualized treatment strategies, and the health care team's approach to patient management and wellness. The ultimate goal of the conference is to aid mental health professionals in providing effective, long-term management of patients with mental disorders in order to maximize outcomes and improve quality of life.


Who Should Attend:


This conference is intended for psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, physician assistants, psychologists, primary care physicians, and other health care professionals who seek to increase their knowledge, confidence, and abilities related to psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, and wellness. 

Additional details 

March 3-6, 2015
Bipolar; Mind and Body
March 7, 2015
London, England
Brain & BehaviorDiscovery to Recovery
March 10th, 2015
San Diego, USA
March 22-25, 2015
Tampa, Florida

March 25, 2015

Torronto, Canada


World Bipolar Day

March 30, 2015
April 17th-20th
Barcelona, Spain
National Council Conference
April 20-22, 2015
Orlando, Florida
Mental HealthAwarenessMonth
May 2015
May 9th
San Marcos, CA 
ISBD Annual Conference
June 3-6, 2015
Toronto, Canada
July 2015
United States

September 19th

California, USA