“We were deeply saddened to hear the news about the death of 56-year-old Irish singer, Sinead O’Connor. Today, on the day of her funeral, we are holding Sinead’s friends, family and colleagues in our thoughts.

Sinead had openly talked about living with bipolar, discussing it in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2007 when she described herself as a “work in progress” since her diagnosis four years previously. She also told Oprah that medication and therapy was helping her to manage the condition.

The Dublin-born singer, best known for her 1990 cover of Prince's ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, which became a global hit, also suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.

She used her platform to talk openly about mental health and suicidal thoughts and encouraged fans to check in on anyone they knew who might be struggling.

Sinead acquired skills during therapy that helped her to understand her triggers, but in 2017 said: “People who suffer from mental illness are the most vulnerable people on earth. You’ve got to take care of us. We’re not like everybody.”

A reminder that we’re here for you

People speaking openly about their own struggles can be a catalyst for others to seek the support they need. As a charity, we want to continue to raise awareness about bipolar so that more people living with the condition can thrive and more lives can be saved.

We know that people living with a diagnosis of bipolar in the UK are 20 times more likely to take their own life which is why we are campaigning to significantly reduce the average diagnosis delay, which currently sits at around 9.5 years.

Bipolar is a severe mental illness characterised by extreme mood swings and changes in energy levels. Someone with bipolar can have long or short periods of stability but can then go ‘low’ (into deep depression) or ‘high’ (experiencing hypomania, mania or psychosis).

Bipolar affects people of all ages and from all backgrounds and there are over one million people living with the condition in the UK alone.

Like many mental-health conditions, bipolar symptoms are usually first noticeable in teenagers and young adults. Research has found that almost 50% of people get symptoms before the age of 21.

Let’s talk more

Research clearly shows that talking about suicide reduces the risk which is why we have a dedicated suicide prevention section on our website with access to helpful resources (including a podcast, webinars and lived-experience blogs) dispelling the myths around suicide and offering advice on how to help someone experiencing suicidal thoughts.

We are a steppingstone on the journey for both someone living with bipolar, and their friends and family and we want to ensure that everyone who has bipolar is equipped with all of the tools they need to live well with the condition.

Our support services

We provide three core peer support services for people living with bipolar peer support groups across the UK; one-to-one peer support via phone and email; and a moderated eCommunity where you can discuss challenges and ask questions.

However you’re feeling, we’re here for you.

*Bipolar UK does not offer crisis support. If you are experiencing a crisis, please do not wait for your symptoms to get worse:

  • Contact emergency services on 999 and ask for police and ambulance
  • Contact your local Crisis Team or Single Point of Access
  • If you are under the care of your local mental health team you can contact them 
  • Contact Samaritans free on 116 123
  • Call NHS 111 and ask to speak to a mental health professional.

Last updated: 8 August 2023