World Bipolar Day (WBD) 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 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.
Source: Text & Picture: The International Society for Bipolar Disorders
Why a World Bipolar Day?
World Diabetes Day, World Cancer Day, and even World Egg Day, and now, drum roll please, World Bipolar Day (WBD). WBD is a day to bring about awareness of bipolar disorder. It is the brainchild of Dr. Pichet Udomratn, a member of the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD) who collaborated with International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) to bring his idea to fruition.
There are 450 million people worldwide with mental illness. Of those it is estimated that the global prevalence of bipolar disorder is between 1 and 2 percent and has been said to be as high as 5 percent, which is three times all the diabetes and 10 times all the cancers combined. Why then do we hear so much in the news, on television, and in conversations about other diseases like diabetes and cancer, and rarely anything about bipolar?
Mental illnesses have historically been misunderstood, feared and therefore stigmatized. The stigma is due to a lack of education, mis-education, false information, ignorance, or a need to feel superior. Its effects are especially painful and damaging to one’s self-esteem. It leaves people with mental illnesses feeling like outcasts from society. Whether the perceived stigma is real or not, it is the subjective interpretation that affects the person’s feelings of belonging. Like most groups who are stigmatized against, there are many myths surrounding mental illness.
Dispelling myths, teaching the signs and symptoms, sharing resources, and pointing out healthy living techniques will be imparted for all to use. WBD is not about “them,” it’s for everyone. We all know someone. Join us!