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March is Bipolar Awareness Month

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

by Tia Lukanova, CCC Counselor & Group Facilitator

In my work as a counselor for CCC, I often talk to individuals who are living with bipolar disorder or who have a loved one living with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a chronic mood disorder that causes intense shifts in mood, energy levels and behavior.

If you know someone living with bipolar disorder there are a variety of ways that you can support them:

Educate yourself

The more you know about bipolar disorder, the more you’ll be able to help. For instance, understanding the symptoms of manic and depressive episodes can help you react appropriately during severe mood changes.


You don’t always need to provide answers or advice to be helpful. Simply being a good listener is one of the best things you can do for someone with bipolar disorder, especially when they want to talk with you about the challenges they’re facing.

Be active in treatment

Treatment for people with bipolar disorder usually consists of many therapy sessions and doctor visits. While you shouldn’t necessarily attend these appointments, you can help someone with bipolar disorder by coming with them and then waiting for them until their appointment is over.

Make a plan

Bipolar disorder can be unpredictable. It’s important to have an emergency plan in place if you need to use it during severe mood episodes. A counselor can help you and your loved one think through an appropriate plan.

Support, don’t push

Your support can be very helpful to a person with bipolar disorder. However, you need to know when to step back and let a medical or mental health professional intervene. While people with bipolar disorder can make conscious decisions, you need to understand when their moods and behaviors are out of their control.

Be understanding

It can be hard for people with mental disorders to understand what they’re experiencing. Those with bipolar disorder may not know why their moods are shifting. Understanding what the person is going through and offering your support can make a big difference in how they feel.

Don’t neglect yourself

While caring for someone with bipolar disorder, it can be easy to forget to care for yourself. But before you help someone, you must make sure you have the time and emotional capability to do so.

Be patient and stay optimistic

Bipolar disorder is a long-term condition, so the symptoms will come and go throughout a person’s life. The disorder is unpredictable, with symptom-free periods alternating with extreme mood episodes.

CCC Counselor, Tia Lukanova

Remember, don’t take it personally if there are setbacks. Remember that you and your loved one are both doing your best.

Click here to learn more about CCC counseling and to meet the rest of our counseling team.

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