When looking for bipolar support groups, there are several things you must take into consideration. How to go about finding them, for example, can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. It is also important to know how to tell if the group is right for you when you do find it. Though it can be challenging at times, it is often an essential part of your recovery from bipolar disorder to connect with people who also have bipolar.

So how do you go about finding a support group for bipolar disorder? There are several national organizations that can help you, as well as local resources in your community. It also depends on whether you are more interested in getting into a peer support group, which is a group run by other people with bipolar disorder, or if you would rather be in a group run by a professional.Both peer support groups and professionally run groups have their pros and cons, so ultimately the decision is up to you.

A good place to start would be a doctor that deals with your bipolar disorder, or your therapist. They may know of valuable resources for people with bipolar. Another good starting point would be your local hospital. Some hospitals have resources and bipolar support groups available, while others may know where you can look for more information. Another example of a community resource that might know something about bipolar support groups is your local library. Your library is also likely to have good information about bipolar disorder in general.

There are also nationally based organizations that can help you find local information on bipolar support groups. Three of these organizations are NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance), and MHA (Mental Health America). All of these deal with bipolar, as well as other topics on mental illnesses.

To get information about bipolar support groups from NAMI, visit their web page and click on “support and programs.” Then click on “state and local NAMIs” and press the link for your state. You should then be able to scroll down to your local chapter and click on it for contact information. This information can be used to find out more about NAMI support groups for bipolar disorder.

To get support for bipolar from DBSA, visit their web page and click on “find support” on the left hand side of the page. Then use the link “in-person support group locator” to get to a page that asks you to check that you have read and accept the above terms before pressing a button that says “click to continue to DBSA chapters/support pages.” You then enter in your zip code and the mile range you would be willing to travel, and press “Go.” The website will then give you contact information which can be used to find out more information about peer support groups in your area.

To use Mental Health America to get information on bipolar support groups, go to their web page and click “get help.” Then press “find support groups” which will be under the find treatment heading. There will be a sentence that has a link in the middle of it, and starts off by saying “your local Mental Health America affiliate is…” Click on this link, then choose your state from the page that follows. Find the closest location to your area and use the contact information provided to find out about local resources and programs.

Each of these sites can also be used to find out more information about bipolar in general.

Once you find some bipolar support groups, how do you tell which one is right for you? There are some things to watch out for to make sure that your experience will be the best it can be.

One of the biggest factors of any support group is confidentiality. The group should have a written and/or stated confidentiality agreement that makes it clear that what is said there, stays there. Without this, information could (intentionally or unintentionally) be spread in harmful or inappropriate ways , so it is better to have a set agreement to protect everyone’s privacy. It should be clear that outside the group, it is inappropriate to mention that you know a person from group, much less that they have bipolar or any other personal information you may find out about them. If a group does not currently have a confidentiality agreement in place, you might ask them if they would be willing to set one up before you began attending.

Another major aspect to consider is whether the group is supportive or not. They need to understand that bipolar disorder does not define who you are, and that you are a person who can succeed in life and your goals, despite your bipolar. They need to motivate you to follow your treatment plan, emphasizing that your doctor and therapists should be contacted before any changes are made to it. Often times a person with bipolar will have the urge to change or stop their treatment plans very suddenly, and it is good to have a peer support group that can discourage rash decisions.

Many groups make some attempt to be informative, which is important; but it is equally important that their information be accurate. Some examples of information that can be spread through support groups include strategies for dealing with bipolar, information on public policy and legal resources, and information on local doctors and therapists. The last of those is particularly important, because only through non-biased support groups can individuals give information as to how good a doctor or therapist is in their practice of treating bipolar disorder.

Another important aspect in finding bipolar support groups is whether they meet regularly or not. Depending on what you need the support group for, it may be more appropriate to join a group that meets once a week, or it may be better to join a bipolar support group that meets only once a month. Either way, the group should have set meeting times and a regular schedule. This is especially important for a person with bipolar disorder, who may be used to going with the ups and downs of bipolar instead of setting a regular schedule. It is also important for the group leader/coordinator to return your calls quickly and professionally, especially when you contact them for the first time. It shows they are interested and professional in dealing with the people in their support groups. This is particularly true when it is peer support groups, as it shows the level of respect that is typical in the group. However, it is important to keep in mind that in peer support groups the person facilitating the group is not a professional and may have other things going on in their lives. While they should call back within a week, it may take them more than 24 hours to do so.

Other things to consider when picking bipolar support groups is knowing your own personal needs, such as costs, your ability to travel, and whether you would prefer peer- or professionally-ran groups. Many peer support groups are free of charge, however some professionally run groups do charge an entrance or joining fee. How far you are able and willing to travel might make a big difference to you as well, especially since the major national organizations do not always have bipolar support groups that are conveniently located. In some cases, these two factors may override your decision about whether to pick a peer support group or a professionally run support group.

Support groups, especially for bipolar disorder, can be an invaluable resource when you find one with all the right qualities. People with bipolar disorder often need outside input to show them when they are in need of further assistance. Bipolar support groups need to be supportive and understanding to be effective, and often peer support groups will fit this need. There are many resources available to people with bipolar disorder, you just have to know where to look.