Leading mental health charity, Bipolar UK, has this week revealed that its digital platform helping people to identify if they might have bipolar reached over 1.5 million people in the last six months.
Since its launch in October last year, the “Could it be bipolar?” platform has supported people who think they might have bipolar but are awaiting an official diagnosis, as well as their friends and relatives.
Alongside information and advice and a 20-minute eLearning course, details about symptoms and a step-by-step guide to getting a diagnosis, the platform also features an evidence-based Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) providing an instant assessment of how likely it is someone has bipolar.
Six months after the platform’s launch, the Mood Disorder Questionnaire was accessed by 18,305 people, providing important feedback on their likelihood of having bipolar.
The campaign also signposted visitors to a free Mood Tracker app created by a volunteer for Bipolar UK that helps those who have not yet been diagnosed track their moods, medication and sleep every day so they can share the data with their GP or mental health team and notice any symptoms.
Since the launch, there has been a 41% increase in users, with the app downloaded 7909 times six months after the platform launched.
Speaking about the platform’s success, CEO of Bipolar UK, Simon Kitchen, said: “We asked users of the ‘Could it be bipolar?’ platform to complete a survey. The feedback was incredible; many said it was helpful, informative and reassuring.”
“73% of people without a current diagnosis who took the MDQ for themselves were advised they ‘might have bipolar’ and said they will now make an appointment with their GP to rule in or rule out a diagnosis.”
“By getting people struggling with their mental health to ask the question, ‘could it be bipolar?’ we are supporting them to take the first step on the journey to diagnosis to get the treatment and support they need to live well.”
“It is estimated that half a million people are living with undiagnosed bipolar in the UK – and there is still a delay of around 9.5 years to get a diagnosis, so these tools to help someone get a diagnosis quicker are vital.”
“The platform not only helps those who suspect they might have bipolar but is also a valuable resource for friends and family to understand how best to support someone wondering if they might have bipolar.”
The charity worked with experts from across the UK, as well as people living with bipolar, to create the ‘Could it be bipolar?’ suite of tools. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of those surveyed who didn’t yet have a diagnosis but who may have bipolar said the platform made them feel more reassured about what to do next.
Kitchen added: “Over 80% of people living with bipolar told our charity that the primary benefit of diagnosis was that it gave them an explanation for their past experiences.”
“A diagnosis also helps people living with bipolar to be better understood and opens the door to receiving the correct care and appropriate medication.”
“As there isn’t a specific test for bipolar, and it doesn’t show up on a brain scan, diagnosis depends on specific and sudden changes in mood and behaviour, not explained by something else.”
“The range of emotions for people with bipolar is much wider than those of the general population, which is why our digital resources are a great way for someone who suspects they might have bipolar to monitor their moods over a period of a few months to look for specific patterns before seeking help from a medical professional.”
Bipolar UK aims to continue supporting anyone struggling with mental health to get a diagnosis. It asks people to share their digital resources to encourage understanding of bipolar and drastically reduce the time it takes to receive a diagnosis, support and treatment.