May is Mental Health Awareness Month. What began in the 1940s as Mental Health Week became a month long event in the 1960s. We have come a long way in understanding, fighting stigma and finding effective treatments and care plans. Still it is not enough!

International Bipolar Foundation is working hard on behalf of others 24/7 with staff, advocates, volunteer boards and scientific and other advisors. May is a special time for all of us and the time we gather for our annual gala to award and celebrate those who make a difference.

Thank you to our chairs Roy & Joanie Polachek! Congratulations to our Imagine Award Winners Paul Dalio and Suzy Favor Hamilton. Thank you to my dear friend Claire Griffiths who will share her story and passion for IBPF. And, of course, undying gratitude goes to our Chairman and Co-Founder Muffy Walker who without, none of this would be possible.

IBPF will also be awarded the Child Mind Institute's Outstanding Organization Change Maker Award this month in celebrations in New York City. The award is p resented to a nonprofit organization that has worked to transform the way mental health is viewed in their community. An award that recognizes our work promoting the importance of mental health, helping children and families, and helping transform the way our community understands mental health.

Next month on Wednesday, June 8 we will hold our 2nd Annual Climb the Hill for Recovery Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Plans are also underway to hold an evening showing of the movie "No Letting Go" that same day. Do you know anyone in the D.C. area we can invite to sponsor, attend or support the day?

Thank you for allowing us to continue to send our message of hope and support through your interest and enthusiasm for the work we do each day.

To your health,
Lori J. Butler, Executive Director

Read the Winning Essays from our 
High School Essay Contest

First  Place
Stigma: The Societal Beast by Jennifer Peterson
Mona Shores High School in  Muskegon, Michigan
Read Essay

Second Place
Wilmington High School in  Wilmington, Massachusetts

Third Place - Tie
  Bipolar Disorder Stigma in Jamaica by Cheyenne Benwarisingh
Immaculate Conception High School in  Saint Andrew, Jamaica
Invisible Illness, Real Pain by Amadea Smith
Conestoga High School in  Wayne, Pennsylvania
Ask the Expert

Each month, a different expert from our Scientific Advisory Board will answer your questions about bipolar disorder research and treatment. 

This month's expert:  Martin Alda, M.D., FRCPC

Question:  Can genetics help us find which medication will work best?

To choose among the multiple treatment options for bipolar disorder, physicians often rely on a trial-and-error approach: different medications are used one after  another until an effective one is found. Any such individual trial can take several  months or even longer. As a result many patients stabilize after a considerable delay. Ongoing research promises to find effective  treatments based on combinations of molecular genetic markers. While "we are not there yet", we already know that the presence of specific psychiatric disorders in families and how affected family members responded to their treatments can guide us in selecting among treatments such as lithium, lamotrigine or atypical antipsychotics. Thus carefully documented family history alone can be useful for individualizing the treatment of bipolar disorder.

About Dr. Alda:
Dr. Alda's research focus is on major psychiatric disorders and their genetics. Three lines of enquiry - mapping genes, linking the genetic predisposition with response to treatment, and examining how the genetic risk translates into behavioral and clinical features of the illness are at the core of his research program. Clinical, molecular-genetic, biochemical, brain-imaging, and neuropsychological methods are used in studies of patients and their family members. Read his full biography here

For more answers from our experts, visit our Sharecare page.
Sign Up For Our Next Webinar
With Paul Carey

Wednesday, May 4 at 9:00am Pacific Time
Sign up here (link includes time zone converter)
Diagnosed with bipolar as an adolescent, Paul experienced all the pain and suffering mental illness has to offer. After a decade of medications and mental hospitals with no success, Paul underwent electroconvulsive therapy starting at the age of 22. Before his 30th birthday he had received nearly 50 sessions of shock treatment. 
At 31, Paul stumbled upon a program called the Lucky 13 which is a program designed to help people with severe health challenges complete a half marathon. He worked up enough courage to apply for the program. He was accepted and his life changed forever. 
Paul quickly realized his training had little to do with running a race and everything to do with taking control of his mental illness. He felt so empowered by his physical and emotional transition that he went back to school, became a personal trainer and a coach for the Lucky 13 Program. Paul now runs the Lucky 13 Program and lives for the opportunity to help those who have suffered most transition into a life of joy. 

The webinar will be recorded and posted here the following week.

See the rest of our upcoming webinars here
Watch Our Latest Recorded Webinar

Intimate Partner and Family Relationships: Effective Communication Skills
Intimate Partner and Family Relationships: Effective Communication Skills
Intimate Partner and Family Relationships: Effective Communication Skills
With Jeff Zacharias 

In this webinar, Jeff shares how to communicate healthily, and what to avoid to ensure productive and meaningful conversations. 

See the rest of our recorded webinars here.

Featured Blogs

by Sally Buchanan-Hagen

by Ron Owens

by Carrie Elizabeth Lynn

Read more hopeful and informative articles  here.

Research Updates

Learn more about the latest studies in bipolar research here.
Meet the Newest Members of our Scientific Advisory Board: 
Robert M.A. Hirschfield, M.D. and Holly A. Swartz, M.D.

Dr. Robert Hirschfeld is Professor of Psychiatry and DeWitt
Wallace Senior Scholar at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. Dr. Hirschfeld is known internationally for his research on the diagnosis and treatment of depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. He has made major contributions to our understanding of the classification of depression and bipolar disorders, their clinical course, relationship to personality and personality disorders, and treatment with medication and psychotherapy. He developed the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ), the most widely used screen for bipolar disorder in the world. The MDQ has been translated into nineteen languages. 

Dr. Holly A. Swartz is professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of
Medicine. Her  research focuses on understanding and optimizing psychosocial and pharmacologic interventions for mood disorders. She is well known for her work in evaluating Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) and Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) as treatments for depression and bipolar disorder. Her research has focused on the role of IPSRT and pharmacotherapy in the management of bipolar II depression and IPT in the management of maternal depression, both in the perinatal period and in the context of high-risk families with psychiatrically ill offspring. Recent work is focused on developing and testing an online version of IPSRT for treating bipolar disorder in primary care.

Read more about our Scientific Advisory Board here

Upcoming Events

Featured Event

Our annual fundraising gala will be Saturday, May 7, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency in La Jolla, California.
More details and registration  here

See the rest of our events here.
Gala Live Auction - Buy It Now Items

The following items from our gala's live auction are available to purchase in advance.
Contact if you would like to purchase any of these amazing experiences!
View all of our auction packages here

Billy Joel Concert at Madison Square Garden, New York
Exclusive use of a suite for 12 guests for a Billy Joel Concert at Madison Square Garden. Your choice of going to the concert on June 17, August 9, October 28, or December 17, 2016. 
Food, beverages, staff gratuity and additional expenses not included. Must choose and redeem by June 1, 2016. 
Value: $20,000
Buy it Now: $15,999

A Week in Switzerland
Your business class tickets for 2 on Lufthansa Airlines will whisk you away from any American city to Zurich where you'll stay in a 3-story house, with 3 bedrooms and swimming pool, overlooking the Alps and beautiful Lake Zurich. 
House is available only June 28-July 5 and August 5-8, 2016. No children under 5, non-smokers only. 
Lufthansa flight expires May 31, 2017. Recipient responsible for all additional expenses including but not limited to taxes, airport, and baggage fees. 
Value: $25,840 
Buy it now: $19,999

Week on the Lake in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho
Spend a week at this fabulous house overlooking beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene. This 3-bedroom house, plus a "man cave" with sofa bed, sits by the water's edge. The gazebo with fireplace, large dock and grassy lawns are perfect for relaxing. The charming town of Coeur d'Alene boasts its own standout resort golf course, with the world's famous only movable island green. The lake, with 135 miles of shoreline, has numerous water activities, including water skiing, fishing, jet skiing, para-sailing, boat cruises, seaplane rides, kayaking and more. 
Transportation not included. No children under 5, non smokers only. Dates to be mutually agreed upon. Current availability: July 6-19, August 5-9, 14-31. Expires September 1, 2016. 
Generously donated by Muffy Walker and John Reed. 
Value: $5,600-$7,000 
Buy it now: $6599
About International Bipolar Foundation

International Bipolar Foundation is a not for profit organization based in San Diego whose mission  is to improve understanding and treatment of bipolar disorder through research; to promote care and support resources for individuals and caregivers; and to erase stigma through education. 

International Bipolar Foundation is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or received from the International Bipolar Foundation.

Visit us online for more information:

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