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Bipolar Disorder: Resources for Caregivers

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: September 2023

Bipolar disorder, and the extreme mood swings it causes, can be frustrating and scary for a loved one. However, bipolar is a common mental health condition. Many parents, spouses, siblings, and friends have gone before you in learning how to take care of someone with the condition. Many have relied on organizations that provide support.

Here are some of the best-known resources for those caring for someone with bipolar disorder.

DBSA's Parent and Caregiver Network

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) sponsors the Parent and Caregiver Network. It is an online community, so it can be a good resource for people living in rural areas or those without transportation. The network is family-focused and seeks to share reliable information about bipolar disorder, treatment options, school accommodations, and research.1,2

DBSA hosts weekly online parent and caregiver support groups that last an hour and a half. Groups are organized by the age of the caregiver’s children. There are also support groups for caregivers of children who are newly diagnosed and parents of adults with bipolar disorder. DBSA also offers information toolkits.1,2

Some of DBSA’s services are free, and some are low-cost. The network includes groups, forums, and discussion boards moderated by volunteers who are parents and caregivers. They understand what it is like to live with someone with a mood disorder.1,2

You must request access to the community. To learn more, email community@dbsalliance.org or call (800) 826-3632.1,2

Robert Louis Stevenson School

The Robert Louis Stevenson School Parent-to-Parent Network holds monthly online meetings for caregivers. The meetings are free and open to anyone caring for a child or young adult with complex emotional issues. The meetings are open to all ages.2

AACAP Bipolar Disorder Resource Center

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) offers a resource center with fact sheets and videos. The information aims to help loved ones learn more about bipolar disorder and how it affects children and teens. Topics include:3

  • Causes of bipolar disorder
  • Possible treatment plans
  • Choices in bipolar medicines and therapy
  • Child Mania Rating Scale–Parent Version (CMRS-P) assessment tool

The AACAP also provides a database to help people find a psychiatrist who specializes in child and teen mental health issues.3

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

If your loved one is thinking about self-harm or death, you can call or text 988 from anywhere in the United States to talk to a crisis counselor. You can also chat with a counselor online at 988lifeline.org.4

International Bipolar Foundation

The International Bipolar Foundation (IBF) offers a variety of support groups, forums, and blogs. These resources are for people with bipolar disorder and the parents of children, teens, and young adults with depression and bipolar disorder. You must be a member to join the forums.5

IBF also provides:5

  • Webinars and YouTube videos for caregivers
  • Free books on healthy living with bipolar disorder
  • Treatment and support resources

Mental Health America

The Mental Health America Affiliate Resource Center provides local and national peer support and health and wellness programs. They also offer reliable information about mental health conditions.6

Ask JAN

AskJAN.org is a federal website run by the Job Accommodation Network. AskJAN provides lists of typical accommodations you may be able to request at work or school to help you manage your bipolar disorder.7

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers a wealth of information, support, and advocacy for those living with bipolar disorder. It provides educational materials, support groups, and online resources that help to better understand bipolar disorder and navigate its challenges.8

NAMI also advocates for mental health policies and provides a platform for people to share their experiences, reducing stigma and promoting a more inclusive and understanding society.8

Clinical trial information

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers information and resources about cutting-edge research into bipolar disorder. You can also visit clinicaltrials.gov and search their online database of clinical trials focused on bipolar disorder.9

Read more about some of the most promising research into bipolar disorder on the NIMH website.9

Your loved one’s doctor, therapist, social worker, or school counselor may have further suggestions for where you and your loved ones can find support.

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