It was with sadness that we have been informed that Sheila Woodland, one of the founders of our charity has passed away.  Sheila was an integral part of our formation in the early 1980's. It was in 1982 whilst living in Wimbledon, London, that she placed an advert in The Guardian newspaper seeking responses from people directly affected by manic depression (as bipolar was then known). 


Soon after, Philomena Germing from Barnes, London, placed similar adverts in The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Observer. When the two women found out about each other, they decided to join forces. 


The initial 180 respondents were contacted individually to suggest that they met to form a society. The first meeting was held in January 1983 at Church House, Westminster Abbey church hall and from that day Bipolar UK as an organisation have continued to support those living with the condition. Sheila was an incredible catalyst for change.


Roll forward 38 years to 2021 we have grown to a community of over 100,000 who are both living with bipolar or have close friends and family with the condition. While there have been improvements in care, treatment and attitudes we still have along way to go in overcoming the stigma, misunderstanding and lack of support that still affects our community. Honouring her memory, we will continue to strive forward with Sheila’s vigour and candour that she was famous for. She will be sadly missed.


Simon Kitchen

CEO, Bipolar UK

Read Sheila Woodland's obituary in the Guardian newspaper