Bipolar Awareness ~ Stop the Stigma is primarily a hub to find places to educate yourself about Bipolar Disorder and find support including current news, events and information related to the ENTIRE spectrum of mental illness, its challenges and rewards.
It began as an Idea.
December 2008 my partner was finally diagnosed with Bipolar disorder after being misdiagnosed for 18 years, although I had grown up in a family where severe mental illness was far from unknown, I still felt I needed to know more particularly about Bipolar Disorder the Mental illness which was currently a large influence on my life. After being dragged onto Facebook kicking and screaming by old friends from high school I figured it would be a useful medium with which to seek out information and other’s who had had more experience with the disorder than I did…..and it worked quite well I made many friends and people who were very supportive.
Some distant time mid 2009 after getting quite frustrated at the old Facebook groups format and having to CONSTANTLY manually check for updated links and new posts (other than those already subscribed too) in order to see what was new, I threw a tanty! I said “This just isn’t working!”
I wanted to at the very least see what new articles were being posted to the groups in the links section. I thought, How could we post them that they all would briefly appear in the main facebook news feed? So I did some digging and discovered that Facebook Pages would make this level of visibility possible, as a few of my friends by that stage were equally frustrated they assisted in bringing together all the group admins. So I created a “page” for all the admins of all the Facebook groups about Bipolar Disorder, instructed them on the concept, explained they could use it as a Hub, if you look at a visual representation of how traffic and information would be shared by all the many bipolar support groups on facebook between them all and yet separate from them all, we discussed it with all the admins, sent them invites and handed them the “tool” which was the page over to them.
And they didn’t use it,
A little further down the track after waiting and waiting and waiting for them to use it, I said screw you and started using it myself.
Besides the initial efforts towards mutual cooperation and coordination of the “groups” there has been no efforts to promote the page, when I started using it, it was just myself and 5 friends sharing what was current in the media out of personal interest, and that is pretty much how things still are, although now 30 of my friends are now keeping track of mental health news via the feed along with over 1800 other random strange wonderful caring considerate grateful people who kind of tagged along. and I hadn’t even really noticed until one day I looked at the ‘fans’ after someone said THANKYOU SO MUCH! and I realised OMG am I being useful?
During 2010 we grew to also have a twitter face for the sake of promoting the need of separate mental health considerations at the Australian 2010 COAG meeting, to petition our State Leaders and Federal Members. While also enjoying the increased public discussion of having a Mental Health Advocate Achieve Australian of the Year, Thank you so much Prof Patrick Mcgorry for the increased profile you have given Mental Health in Australia.
The end of 2010 my partner was removed from my home and care due to stigma, paranoia, moral hysteria, and lies. During his absence I thought it inappropriate for me to continue administering the page on my own as I was no longer a full-time carer, it was at this time that a number of lovely ladies joined me in administering the page, although I still found myself sharing my daily reading with the world. I found comfort and reassurance in maintaining my habits, as always it made me feel useful and to some extent stopped me from dwelling on the persecution from the State Government my family were facing for loving someone with a mental illness.
BA~STS is not a charity, we are not a political organisation, we do not fund-raise, but we do promote the fundraising efforts of Mental Health Organisations World Wide. We are not paid to do what we do, we do it in our own time, and greatly appreciate all the thanks and recognition that is regularly expressed to us.
We also are not perfect and all differ in our personal opinions which we freely express, we are not experts, we are carer’s, patient’s and supporters. At times we are equally as lost as you.
We have a policy, the page is what it is, and it IS very high volume, I am certain that there are admins of other pages who regularly sift our content for the sweetest of ‘gems’ to share on pages with much lower traffic, there are no hard feelings if people leave due to volume, differing opinions or inability to face the uglier side of mental health since we cover THE LOT, but we do have a policy of “if you don’t like it, don’t ‘like’ it” because no one can please everyone and if you do try to please everyone you will quickly upset someone. Try to keep foul language to a minimum although I am guilty of occasionally cussing I do try to keep it as clean as possible.