What do you want to know about bipolar disorder?

An expert panel will address unanswered questions at a free community event in Geelong.

Thursday 30 March is World Bipolar Day, part of an international drive to raise awareness about the disorder. To mark the event, Deakin University’s Innovation in Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Treatment (IMPACT) Strategic Research Centre, along with Barwon Health and Geelong Regional Libraries are running a community forum: “World Bipolar Day – Questions Unanswered?”

World Bipolar Day coincides with the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed with likely bipolar disorder.

Events will be happening throughout the world, aiming to educate, and improve sensitivity toward the illness. For this free community event, the panel of experts will discuss their view and insights on the disorder, then open the floor to questions from the audience.

As noted by panellist, IMPACT Director Professor Michael Berk, “Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects at least one per cent of the population, with an estimated 29.5 million people living with the condition worldwide”. This statistic speaks to the need for more robust conversations that build understanding.

Despite the predominance, perspectives and treatment approaches vary, and for many people this leads to confusion. This was highlighted in Professor Berk’s recent research around medication treatment for bipolar disorder. Professor Berk notes that the most commonly prescribed is not necessarily the most effective drug, according to clinical trials.

Fellow panellist, Daniel G. Taylor, who has been diagnosed with the disorder, will share his experience exploring different treatment options to find the approach that was most effective for him.

“I researched bipolar and studied people who stayed well long-term, using the scientific method to test what worked and discard what didn’t,” he said. “Along the way, I uncovered evidence-based treatments that form the basis of what I do well to not only stay well today, but to thrive. On 1 May 2017 it will be 16 years since I’ve had a relapse.”

Mr Taylor’s experience highlights the relevance of this year’s theme of answering questions, and making sense of the information out there. Because there are a number of approaches, treatments, theories and diagnostic presentations, there is a lot to learn.

This community-based event brings together researchers, treating professionals, individuals living with the disorder, and carers alike, to open the communication lines and share insights that will help to achieve positive health outcomes.

To learn more, or pose a question to the expert panel, join us at the event:

Date: Thursday 30th March

Time: Doors open at 5:30PM for a 6:00PM start

Location: Geelong Library & Heritage Centre, 51 Little Malop St, Geelong VIC 3220

Register online to attend.


Daniel G. Taylor, mental health copywriter, speaker and facilitator for Mind Works Geelong and Geelong Bipolar Support Group. Daniel has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Professor Michael Berk, internationally-recognised, Geelong-based researcher and world expert in bipolar disorder.

Darren Riggon, Clinical Co-ordinator at Geelong’s Jigsaw Young Person’s Health Service.

Further details:

Dr Olivia Dean Ph:(03) 4215 3300.

Leonara Coolhass Ph:(03) 4215 3273.

This article was published by Deakin Research on 13 March 2017.

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