Bipolar is a severe mental illness characterised by significant and sometimes extreme changes in mood and energy, which go far beyond most people’s experiences of feeling a bit down or happy. There are over one million people with bipolar in the UK — 30% more than those with dementia and twice as many as those with schizophrenia. Millions more are impacted through close friends and family.
According to a landmark study by the London School of Economics, bipolar costs the UK economy about £20 billion a year – 17% of the total burden of mental illness – and has an enormous impact on individuals, the NHS and society generally. But according to Bipolar UK, the patient research charity, the system is failing people with bipolar.
The Bipolar Commission was launched in March 2021. It has 26 Commissioners with academic, clinical, and lived experience. It conducted 1-1 interviews with over 100 expert witnesses, conducted extensive desk-based research and sent out seven surveys to patients, psychiatrists, friends, and family, collating over 7,000 responses.
The Commission report, which was presented in the House of Commons on Tuesday 8 November, puts forward strong recommendations for changes in this area which will benefit patients and the NHS.
The SMC invited the key scientific experts involved in putting together this report to talk about the findings, the evidence, and the recommendations.
Simon Kitchen, CEO of Bipolar UK
Professor Guy Goodwin, co-chair of the Bipolar Commission and Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Oxford
Dr Clare Dolman, co-chair of the Bipolar Commission, Postdoctoral Researcher at King’s College London specialising in how bipolar affects women. Clare wrote ‘The Impact of Bipolar on Women’ section of the report. She has a diagnosis of bipolar
Professor Paul McCrone, Professor of Healthcare Economics at the University of Greenwich. Paul wrote ‘The Economic Impact of Bipolar’ section of the report
Dr Thomas Richardson, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southampton. Thomas analysed many of the Bipolar Commission survey results. He has a diagnosis of bipolar