How do you help someone with bipolar disorder? No insurance. Psychiatrists here are about as sane as Freud.
Well, Anonymous, there are a LOT of ways to help. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance [http://dabsa.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=about_helping]
has this list:
Helping Someone With A Mood Disorder
Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depression) affect millions of people. Their family members and friends are affected too. If someone you love has a mood disorder, you may be feeling helpless, overwhelmed, confused and hopeless, or you may feel hurt, angry, frustrated and resentful. You may also have feelings of guilt, shame and isolation, or feelings of sadness, exhaustion and fear. All of these feelings are normal.
What you need to know:
Your loved one’s illness is not your fault (or your loved one’s fault).
You can’t make your loved one well, but you can offer support, understanding and hope.
Each person experiences a mood disorder differently, with different symptoms.
The best way to find out what your loved one needs from you is by asking direct questions.
What you need to find out:
Contact information (including emergency numbers) for your loved one's doctor, therapist, and psychiatrist, your local hospital, and trusted friends and family members who can help in a crisis.
Whether you have permission to discuss your loved one's treatment with his or her doctors, and if not, what you need to do to get permission.
The treatments and medications your loved one is receiving, any special dosage instructions and any needed changes in diet or activity.
The most likely warning signs of a worsening manic or depressive episode (words and behaviors) and what you can do to help.
What kind of day-to-day help you can offer, such as doing housework or grocery shopping.
When talking with your loved one's health care providers, be patient, polite and assertive. Ask for clarification of things you do not understand. Write down things you need to remember.
What you can say that helps:
You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.
I understand you have a real illness and that’s what causes these thoughts and feelings.
You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.
I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.
When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold on for just one more day, hour, minute - whatever you can manage.
You are important to me. Your life is important to me.
Tell me what I can do now to help you.
I am here for you. We will get through this together.
What you should avoid saying:
It’s all in your head.
We all go through times like this.
You’ll be fine. Stop worrying.
Look on the bright side.
You have so much to live for; why do you want to die?
I can’t do anything about your situation.
Just snap out of it.
Stop acting crazy.
What’s wrong with you?
Shouldn’t you be better by now?
The National Institute for Mental health has a list of suggestions for finding services
and the DBSA has a list of suggestions called "Choosing a Provider" and Professional Referral has tips on what to remember when choosing a provider of Mental Health Services as well as links to resources.
I hope these links help...and I'll comeback to discuss this in more detail later.