According to the National Institute of Mental Health, early-onset Bipolar Disorder affects up to three percent of adolescents. That represents approximately one million teenagers in the United States and does not even take into account younger children.
A stigma surrounds this insidious illness because it is misunderstood by the general public who may perceive Bipolar Disorder as an emotional shortcoming instead of a serious physical illness, like heart disease, cancer or diabetes. This stigma may prevent those with Bipolar Disorder from seeking appropriate medical attention.
Awareness and understanding are key factors in helping to erase the stigma that surrounds Bipolar Disorder. You can help by spreading the word and sending a link to this web site to your family, friends and local community. If you have been affected by Bipolar Disorder as a child or adolescent, share your story and help bring to light this illness that has for so long been kept in the dark.
Some families have chosen to establish their own organizations to help spread awareness and understanding in honor of a child they lost to Bipolar Disorder. Todd and Michelle Brown launched an interactive website at BipolarAware.org in honor of their
daughter Carol Anne who suffered from Bipolar Disorder and who passed away at the
age of 19. It is efforts like the Brown’s that make great progress in erasing the stigma of Bipolar Disorder.
The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation was invited to participate in the Child Mind Institute's Speak Up For Kids month-long awareness and education program to protect and promote children's mental health held in May 2013. The Foundation's Early-Onset Bipolar Medical Briefing Luncheon and panel discussion became one of the key events to focus on Bipolar Disorder.