I have to admit to being a little surprised and taken aback by the plans I read about in the Telegraph. This week Davos organisers will be warned of a five-fold increase in referrals to psychiatric clinics, as mental health experts say bipolar is now known as ‘CEO disease’ As the CEO of the national charity dedicated to empowering everyone affected by bipolar to live well and fulfil their potential this was deeply troubling to read.

Those living with bipolar can often be high achievers so it’s no surprise that it’s associated with CEOs. The Davos forum and indeed society needs to  have clarity on the fact that bipolar is a condition not a disease. Whilst there is no known cure referring to bipolar disorder in this manner only further stigmatises a condition at a time when the wider perception of mental health is only just being recognised as something we need to discuss more openly. Referring to it in these terms takes us backwards and not forwards. Yes there is a degree of heritability, though it is impossible to ‘catch’ it from someone else. It is also disappointing to note that the author of the article do little to delve into the symptoms of bipolar disorder, writing that mania is ‘feeling restless or overactive’. Bipolar disorder is a severe and enduring mental health condition that impacts all areas of society, and it is important that it’s not sensationalised when discussing it at a national level.

Using a combination of sleep hygiene, medication, nutrition, exercise,  talking therapies and mood monitoring, it is possible to live well with bipolar and avoid serious episodes. Bipolar UK’s approach to staying well is underpinned by peer support whether that be face to face, over the phone or via our online eCommunity. We are here to help those in the workplace through our employment service wherever they work be it a boardroom or back office.

Simon Kitchen

CEO, Bipolar UK

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